Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Students mourn tragic events at concert

September 17, 2001
No preference freshman Carolyn Hunt attends the memorial Friday at Beaumont Tower. The Carillion Band played while students and community members gathered to reflect over Tuesday —

Beaumont Tower was more than an MSU landmark Friday as students, staff, faculty and visitors transformed the structure and surrounding landscape into a place for silent tribute.

As a way to grieve and pray for Tuesday’s tragedies, more than 300 people sat huddled around the tower and listened to the carillon.

“I have been praying all week,” said Meghan Parr, a forestry senior. “It is important to be supportive at a time when things like this hit so close to home. I like coming together and being with everyone.”

Parr thought the university’s decision to cancel classes to make it easier for students to attend the concert was “the respectful thing to do.”

The university received some criticism for not canceling classes Tuesday after terrorists made attacks in New York City and Washington.

MSU President M. Peter McPherson said the decision was based on not wanting to give in to the attackers’ goal of paralyzing the United States.

But Friday, the day President Bush declared a national day of prayer and remembrance, MSU canceled its 11:30 a.m. and 12:40 p.m. classes and held two remembrance events on campus during that time.

In addition to the concert, people were also given the choice to attend a service at Wharton Center - an option more than 3,000 people chose.

John Toman, an English junior, decided to attend the concert because he viewed it as an option for people who didn’t want to go to a place of worship or non-denominational service.

“I am just here out of the respect to the victims and our country,” he said.

As the guests sat around the tower, some held carnations with messages attached, and others wore red, white and blue ribbons attached to clothing.

All were silenced the moment the carillon began. Immediately eyes shifted downward, as individuals concentrated on the music.

But the silence was broken when the carillon began playing the nation’s anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The crowd stood up, and many began singing the words of the song.

Soft and with hesitation at first, the anthem’s ending was sung loudly.

For Brandon Strait, a finance sophomore, the 45-minute carillon concert was a time to reflect and get away from his daily routine.

“I was at breakfast reading the newspaper, and I started crying. Then I had to go take an exam,” he said. “I needed a time to get away from calculus.”

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