Virtual 9/11 observance inspires community reflection


Lucas Cohen-D'Arbeloff/Chronicle

As she plays her cello, Helena Wu ’23 reflects on Chaplain Anne Gardner’s sermon about 9/11. Wu was a student performer for the observance.

Emmy Zhang and Lucas Cohen-d'Arbeloff

Reverend Anne Gardner hosted a virtual observance of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Friday. The event featured a speech by Gardner and a live musical performance.

After welcoming attendees at the start of the service, Gardner reflected on the magnitude of the tragic events two decades prior. Gardner said she hopes that the community can reflect on the catastrophe while pushing onward toward better days.

“May the life-giving spirit of God move through each of your hearts; may barriers crumble, suspicions disappear, hatred cease and divisions be healed,” Gardner said. “We pray this fervently in the name of all those holy.”

Following Gardner’s words, Helena Wu ’23 performed the song “America (My Country, ’Tis of Thee)” by Samuel Francis Smith on her cello.Wu said she was grateful to participate in the school’s tribute to those who lost their lives.

“I am so honored that I was able to take part in our community’s remembrance of the events of Sept. 11,” Wu said. “I also really appreciated Reverend Gardner’s touching sermon.”

Gardner concluded the ceremony by listing names of 9/11 victims who were connected to the school community and honoring their passing.

“Please hold [these victims] in your heart as their names are read,” Gardner said.

Kieran Chung ’23, who attended the event, said it served as a reminder to students that many Americans experience far more serious challenges than their own.

“Many HW students are preoccupied with school, and we often think we don’t have time to think about anything else, but the event reminded me that there are things more important than schoolwork,” Chung said. “It’s good to take time to reflect on these impactful moments in history and gain a little bit of perspective.”

Gardner listed the following victims during the service:

Father Mychal Judge

Patrick McGuire

Dora Menchacha (Imani Dorsey ’00)

Berry Berenson-Perkins (Oz ’91, Elvis ’94)