October 8, 2003: From the Editor

Photo: President Tilghman strikes a bell 13 times at the dedication of a memorial garden honoring the alumni killed September 11, 2001. The bronze bell, by Toshiko Takaezu, is named “Remembrance.” (Photo by Denise Applewhite)

Remembering always has been important to Princeton, and recently, there has been a great deal of it. Shortly before Reunions, the University – using funds from the classes – installed bronze stars on the dorm rooms of 25 undergraduate and four graduate alumni who died in the Korean War. Stars already mark the rooms of class members killed in World War I, World War II, and Vietnam.

The stars have deep meaning to classmates, who see them as a special tribute to close friends. “At Reunions, several classes with members who had died in the Korean War asked where the new stars were located, and they made a pilgrimage,” said Roberta O’Hara, the University’s assistant director of stewardship.

On a rainy Saturday last month, the University dedicated a memorial garden to the 13 alumni killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. (News of the dedication is included in this issue.) Like the stars under dorm windows, the dedication offered an illustration of just how much the lives of the University and its alumni are intertwined. Family members of nine of the September 11 victims offered personal remembrances; many recalled the defining roles played by the University and its people. For the survivors, Princeton continues to bind.

Chloe Wohlforth ’07 recalled another day at Princeton – a day two years ago, when she was a high school student. On that day, Chloe was attending a memorial service for her father, Martin P. Wohlforth ’76, and other alumni who died in the attacks. The service, she recalled, “was the first time I felt my dad would truly be with me, even if he were no longer here.” Her own affiliation with Princeton has made that feeling stronger, she said.

The garden, and the bronze stars, serve as daily reminders of people who lived, studied, loved, and perhaps changed the directions of their lives, on this campus. Designers of the garden hoped that the memorial would be both a personal tribute to those who died, and a quiet space for contemplation – an idea echoed by Robert Klitzman ’80, brother of Karen Klitzman ’84.

“Generations in the future both here and elsewhere will look back at us here today to see how we responded to the barbarity and tragedy of the terrorist attack two years ago,” Klitzman said. “They will look not only at our personal, but at our political responses as citizens of this great country. And here I think we face enormous questions and challenges that I hope Princetonians now and in the future will help us address – of how to make sense of what happened, and how best to respond and ultimately achieve peace in warring regions of the world.”

As a student, Klitzman said, he often reflected on a quote chiseled above the doorway to McCosh 50; he read it to the families at the memorial dedication:

“Here we were taught by men and gothic towers

Democracy and faith and righteousness

And love of unseen things that do not die.”


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