A Special Message from Dr. Harsh K. Luthar on 9/11/2001
In America, especially on the East Coast, many of us have been personally touched by events that occurred on September 11, 2001. Thousands of people were killed or injured due to the attack on New York and Washington. The resulting suffering has been enormous and heartbreaking to watch.
On September 13, 2001, two days after the attack, we had an Interfaith candle light vigil for the two Bryant College alumni, Shawn Nassaney and Lynn Goodchild who were on flight 175 from Boston and lost their lives when it was forced to crash into the World Trade Center. Lynn was a former student of mine. Before the vigil, I was for some time looking at her printed name on my copy of the official grade roster and at the grade I had given her. With my fingers, I touched her name and then traced it to the grade she had received. She was a good student.
The Interfaith vigil for Lynn and Shawn started at 8pm and took place around the pond here at Bryant College and was very beautiful. There was a large crowd and the sea of Bryant community was everywhere. One professor sang peace songs. Another professor spoke about Islam and how it does not condone such actions as those which took place. It was a beautiful speech calling for understanding. A minister and a priest and a rabbi spoke words of comfort and healing for all of us and we sang more songs. We sang “God Bless America”.
After the vigil was over, I was taken to see Lynn’s mom. She is a beautiful person. We hugged. I said I was very sorry for her loss. I took out the crumpled roster of some years ago from my pocket and told her that Lynn was a good student. Lynn’s mom put on her glasses and in the faint light was able to make out Lynn’s name and she smiled. There were many people waiting in line to hug and comfort Lynn’s mom. She was receiving them all with kindness and gratitude. We came together as a community.
After the vigil ended, I went back to teach my evening MBA class in Business and Society, an hour of which still remained. For about 50 minutes, the students and I talked about the tragic events. I told the students about my meeting with Lynn’s mom at the vigil and found it hard to proceed further with the class.
You can see Shawn and Lynn on the following URL with their bright, young, and glowing faces.
Please keep our suffering and indeed that of all humanity in your thoughts and prayers. We have put the list of “Prayers for Peace” from many different religions that was compiled by someone and then sent to us.
Mahavir, the 24th Jain prophet, was a contemporary of Buddha and preached the doctrine of Ahimsa (Non-violence). The last 4 lines of the Jain prayer reflect that message.
“A weapon howsoever powerful it may be, can always be superseded by a superior one; but no weapon can, however, be superior to non-violence and love.”
These prayers coming from many different religions and philosophies can help us reflect on the essential message of the saints and sages of universal love, compassion, and nonviolence in times of difficulty. Because many people are grieving in their own ways, these prayers may offer some consolation with their message of peace for the human spirit.