September 11, 2008
The City of Winter Park and Rollins College remembered the heroes of 9-11 with a moving tribute and memorial dedication ceremony. More than 200 members of the Rollins and Central Florida community gathered for the dedication ceremony, which included comments from Winter Park Mayor David Strong and Chief of Fire Rescue James White as well as the touching musical selection "Even When God is Silent" performed by the Rollins Chamber Singers. Rollins' unique 9-11 Memorial is believed to be the first and only memorial to feature authentic touchstones from all three sites-the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the site in Shanksville, Penn.
"It is a profound tribute to Rollins College to continue our journey of working through our grief process. It is prolonged. It is real. And healing comes very slowly," said Rollins College President Lewis Duncan. "On this seventh anniversary, our grief journey has been given a moment of healing by the College and it is honoring those of us still struggling with our own grief. 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 will never ever forget."
Rollins College Alumni Board of Directors Member Tony Wilner (Class of 1982) generously donated this unique 9-11 memorial to Rollins College. 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. Manny Papir (Rollins College Class of 1989), who served as Mayor Giuliani's Deputy Chief of Staff during the 9-11 attacks, had donated a piece of stone from the wreckage of the World Trade Center for the College's Walk of Fame, but agreed with Wilner's vision of a memorial including all three sites.
The 9-11 memorial dedication site is located on the Rollins College campus in front of the Veteran's Memorial flagpole near the Warren Administration building. The memorial features the three site pieces, a set of bronze 9-11 commemorative coins and the engraved quotation from President George W. Bush reading "We will not waiver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail."
"Since the purpose of any memorial is to be a reminder of a significant person or event, I hope that this one will remain as a constant reminder to the events and people of that day," said Wilner. "As you cross the center of the campus here in your weekly routine, I hope you'll take a moment to stop, touch the stones, reconnect with the events of the day, and appreciate how as Americans in a free society seven years later, we remain relentless in our pursuit of those who pursue us."