PUBLISHED:September 08, 2021

Duke events honor 20th anniversary of 9/11 with remembrance, hope


The Duke Law community mourns the 2,977 lives lost to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including many brave first responders who risked their lives to save others.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives. Nineteen militants hijacked four commercial airliners and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and a field in the countryside near Shanksville, Penn.

On Saturday, family members will gather in person on the Memorial Plaza in New York City to read out loud the names of those killed in the 9/11 attacks, as well as the six who died in the related 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Starting at 8:46 a.m., six moments of silence will be observed during the ceremony to acknowledge when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck and fell, and the times corresponding to the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

At Duke University, a plaque on Keohane Quad memorializes the six Duke alumni who died during the attacks: Michael Morgan Taylor T'81, Frederick C. Rimmele III, M.D. T'94, A. Todd Rancke T'81, Christopher Todd Pitman T'93, Peter Ortale T'87, and J. Robinson "Rob" Lenoir T'84.

"As we approach September 11 this year, I invite the Duke community to take some time to remember and also to hope," said Duke Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery. "We will remember, first and foremost, the people who died in these terrible attacks 20 years ago. We will also seek to remember and understand how 9/11 has shaped, and continues to impact, our country and world."

On Saturday, the Duke Chapel is offering opportunities to commemorate 9/11 though memory and hope. All events are free and open to the public. Please note that face masks are required on the Duke campus in all indoor and outdoor locations. See the university’s public health measures.

Tolling of the Chapel Bells

The Duke Chapel carillon will ring in memory of the September 11 victims at the times of the attacks:

  • 8:46 a.m. when the first of two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center (North Tower)
  • 9:03 a.m. when the second plane crashed into World Trade Center (South Tower)
  • 9:37 a.m. when hijackers crashed a plane into the Pentagon
  • 10:03 a.m. when hijackers crashed a plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania

‘Remember and Hope’ Interfaith Vigil

Beginning at 10:04 a.m., faith leaders from across campus will lead a vigil on the steps of the chapel, which will include times of prayer, reading, and silent reflection. President Vincent E. Price will give welcoming remarks. People of any faith or no faith are welcome to join in this time of remembrance and hope.

‘Call and Response’ Photography Exhibition

Beginning at 10:04 a.m. and throughout the day, the chapel will be open to visitors to view an exhibition of photographs of past campus vigils and protests. Titled “Call and Response: Remembering Prayer, Protest, and Acts of Justice,” the exhibition includes “remember” buttons for visitors to take as a symbol for remembering the love and hope that have united us in times of personal and national loss and struggle.

‘Grant Us Peace’ Concert

At 7:30 p.m. in the chapel, Duke Chapel musicians and the Ciompi Quartet will perform compositions with themes of remembrance, peace, and reconciliation by composers such as Joan Tower, Felix Mendelssohn, Shireen Abu-Khader, Ned Rorem, Ola Gjeilo, and George Walker. The musical performances will be interwoven with poetic commentary. The concert, co-sponsored by Duke Arts, will be livestreamed here.

The Duke Chapel has scheduled the following events related to the commemoration of 9/11:

  • Sunday, Sept. 12, at 9:45 a.m. on Zoom: 9/11 Twenty Years Later: What Has Changed? This online Adult Forum, hosted by the Congregation at Duke Chapel, features Samia Serageldin, a writer, novelist, editor and public speaker. Born in Egypt and now living in Chapel Hill, Serageldin is the author of three novels, “The Cairo House,” “The Naqib’s Daughter,” and “Love is Like Water.” She has also contributed to anthologies on Islam and was the editor for the Duke Press edition of “In the Name of Osama bin Laden.” Email to receive a link to participate.