The fall brings so many joyful moments at Suffolk. We cherish the excitement of welcoming students to campus, and the energy that comes with a new academic year.

Amidst these wonderful moments is the sobering knowledge that we must also take time this week to acknowledge difficult and painful memories.

Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a tragedy for this nation and one of the most painful episodes in many of our lifetimes. Nearly 3,000 women, men, and children were killed in the attacks. It was a horrific day that changed all of our lives. Although many members of the recently arrived Class of 2025 were not yet born, you arrived into a very changed world because of this tragedy.

The profound loss of life on American soil launched a 20-year war in Afghanistan, the longest in American history, one that led to the deaths of countless American and Afghan citizens. Most recently, 13 American military members and more than 90 Afghans were killed in a horrific terrorist attack at the Kabul airport on August 26. We mourn the lives lost and honor the service of military members who made the ultimate sacrifice. As a country, we are still coming to grips with this senseless loss of life and suffering.

This is not a political statement. Rather, it is important to take a moment to stop, remember the lives lost, and reflect on how the past two decades have shaped the world we enter together as a University community this fall.

Today, and especially this Saturday, we remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and their families, loved ones and friends, as well as the survivors.

This nation united in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. We found shared grief, but also shared community and strength. By giving these moments the respect and reflection they deserve, we allow ourselves to gain some perspective on where we’ve been, and where we have the potential to go. I hope you will take time this Saturday, as I will, to remember the events of Sept. 11, and the lives lost in that tragedy and in the 20 years of conflict that followed. It is my hope that together we, as a nation, can again find a greater sense of unity and shared strength so necessary to make progress on the ongoing challenges humanity faces.


Marisa J. Kelly