Winter Park fire fighters stand next to one of their fire trucks; fire fighters march down the street

A Touching Reminder

By Laura J. Cole ’04 ’08MLS

“As the world rapidly moves ahead,
on this day we stop to remember.
As the world forgets the bravery, courage,
and the sacrifice of thousands,
we honor them at this moment.
This is a day of good grief, of good memories
of those we love, for a chance to stop, pray,
reflect, and honor the lives of those
we never ever forget.”
—The Reverend Dan Matthews ’55 ’86H

The events of September 11, 2001 left a lasting mark on America’s history. Giant buildings crumbled, walls of defense were pierced, and planes became weapons of mass destruction. The great tragedy of that day was the significant loss of lives—lives that were taken much too early from families and friends.

While the buildings can be rebuilt, the walls made stronger, and the planes more secure, the lives lost that day will never be replaced. In honor of the men, women, and children who lost their lives or loved ones, Alumni Association Board of Directors member Tony Wilner ’82 generously donated a unique 9/11 Memorial. The marker was unveiled during a tribute service, which included the Winter Park Fire and Police Departments, at Rollins on Thursday, September 11, 2008.

Tony Wilner and Manny Papir

Tony Wilner ’82 (l ) and Manny Papir ’89 at the 9/11 Memorial

The memorial is the first of its kind to feature touchstones from all three 9/11 sites. Manny Papir ’89, who served as Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s Deputy Chief of Staff during the attacks, donated a piece of stone from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Wilner, who worked in the Pentagon at that time supporting the Defense Intelligence Agency, obtained a salvaged piece of the Pentagon limestone and worked to obtain a stone from the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Located on the Rollins campus a few feet from the Veterans Memorial flagpole in the Warren Administration Building parking lot, the memorial features the three site pieces, a set of bronze 9/11 commemorative coins, and the engraved quotation from President Bush that “Peace and freedom will prevail.” Intended to inspire passersby to stop and touch each of the stones and reflect on the incidents of that day, the Memorial stands as a tribute to the people who lost their lives on that clear fall day and to those they left behind. It stands as a lasting touchstone to their sacred memories.

Tony Wilner delivering a speech in front of the new 9/11 Memorial