As the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, the University has announced its plan to commemorate the day with what it calls a somber and respectful tone.
At the center of the University's memorial efforts is the ringing of the Chapel bell, which will toll once for each event that occurred on Sept. 11 at the exact time those events occurred and once for each of the six alumni who died in the attacks. A symposium in the evening with a panel of professors will close the anniversary, for which multiple groups have planned events throughout the day.
"The tolling of the bells is a powerful symbol using the most powerful physical symbol we have on campus," Provost Peter Lange said. "It's very telling."
President Nan Keohane, whose idea it was to strike the bell, said the University's ceremonies would be understated, following the tone of what the U.S. government is planning.
"As we watched the respectful and almost somber tone of the World Trade Center evacuations, we decided that was the tone we wanted to emulate," said John Burness, Senior Vice President for Public and Government Relations.
Class will go on during the day, but the University is encouraging professors to dedicate their classes to discussion of Sept. 11.
"We did not cancel classes at the time of the event, and we decided not to this year, as well," Burness said.
Also, like last year, there will be a forum at 7 p.m. held in the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy for the University community to come together to discuss the event.
"The panel is designed to do the same kind of thing as last year," Lange said. "We recognize that we are an intellectual campus and, because of that, part of our responsibility is to acknowledge the intellectual sides of the day."
The anniversary will begin with an 8 a.m. memorial at the Duke University Museum of Art on East Campus. Keohane, among others, will speak at the exhibit of photographs and spontaneous memorials that appeared in New York City after the attacks.
At 11 a.m. the six alumni who died in the attacks will be recognized with six chimes of the Chapel bells and by the planting of six trees in a simple ceremony outside the West-Edens Link.
Duke Student Government, Army ROTC and other groups will sponsor a noon ceremony in front of the Chapel honoring those who serve the nation.
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The Chapel itself will be open all day and will host an interfaith service at 1 p.m. and a Catholic mass at 9 p.m.
"If you had asked me last November how things would be a year later, I would have said life would never be the same," Keohane said. "With the exception of how airports feel, things are far less different than I would have expected."