Charles Nailen/The Hoya Nearly 300 Students gathered in front of White Gravenor yesterday for an interfaith memorial service making the second anniversary of Sept. 11.

The Georgetown community congregated Thursday on the lawn in front of White Gravenor to commemorate the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with an interfaith memorial service.

The service began with a call to worship by the Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, who indicated that the service would be simple yet contemplative, drawing on the diverse religious traditions embodied by the university.

The 40-minute event was modest compared to last year’s tribute, which featured prayer and discussion events culminating in an evening candlelight vigil on Copley Lawn.

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The service focused on the coming together of different cultures to work toward a peaceful understanding of one another.

Kathleen Maas Weigert, director for the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service, conducted a reflection in which she stressed that it is the duty of everyone to “help fashion a world in which we work to understand each other.”

Weigert discussed a number of familiar images associated with the aftermath of the tragedy, including the generosity, compassion and general concern exhibited by the American people.

She said that while some people have chosen to focus simply on the disasters as they conveyed the immense hatred that exists in the world, others look back and are gripped by fear and are plaintive for our country’s loss of an almost naive innocence. Still, she said, others concentrate on the effusive worldwide response that, for instance, produced an abundance of willing blood donors.

After two prayers of petition, delivered by Nazareth Haysbert (SFS ’05) and Meg MacWhirter (SFS ’05), and various musical interludes performed by the Georgetown University Choral Program, University President John J. DeGioia addressed the gathering of 300 students, faculty and staff.

“Today, we’ve been reminded that our quest for peace is a worldwide commonality,” DeGioia said after three prayers had been recited by Senior Jewish Chaplain Rabbi Harold White, uslim Chaplain Imam Yahya Hendi and Protestant Chaplain the Rev. Constance Wheeler.

“As a Catholic and Jesuit institution, we’re fortunate to have a vocabulary and a mission that engages our spirits.” DeGioia said that Sept. 11 drew a bright line in that it reintroduced terrorism on an almost unimaginable and certainly unprecedented level.

Yet today, he said, we find ourselves embracing the challenges of striving to live in a peaceful world.

DeGioia concluded by citing a quote by Pope John XVIII, who found himself at the forefront of much of the turbulence of the twentieth century. “The world will never be a dwelling of peace until peace has found a home in each and every one of us.”

Students reflected both on the importance of the second anniversary and the memorial service.

“It’s important to have a reflective service,” Josh Bancroft (SFS ’04) said. “It’s meaningful to take time to remember those lost, and to reflect what’s changed in two years and what we can do for the future.”

Elizabeth Malroy (COL ’07) said the service helped her remember the event and memorialize it. “It’s good to remember. Even now, I feel I’m forgetting how serious the matter is,” she said.

Sarah Fricke (NHS ’07) concurred. “It’s important to be aware of how fragile life is,” she said.

Still, the service left others wondering whether the spirit of the day has been lost. “It was nice to hear from all three faiths,” Louis Poppler (SFS ’06) said. “Although I think some of the focus was taken from the victims. There should have been more about the atrocities and terrorism in general as it remains a severe problem.”

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