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    Students remember with “New York Remembers” 9/11 exhibit

    "New York Remembers" is a regional exhibit that only came to 30 other sites around New York State -- it is sponsored by the Office of the Governor. (Frank Posillico / The Statesman)
    "New York Remembers" is a regional exhibit that only came to 30 other sites around New York State -- it is sponsored by the Office of the Governor. (Frank Posillico / The Statesman)

    For the month of September, the solemn and peaceful Charles B. Wang Center is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the memory of the events, people, thoughts and heroes related to the tragedy that took place on September 11, 2001, sponsored by the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    Stony Brook is among 30 other sites across New York to display artifacts that have never before been seen by the public – ranging from a trailer used by families visiting Ground Zero, photographs and messages to lost loved ones, pieces of emergency vehicles damaged in the relief effort, debris from the Twin Towers, airplane fragments and religious “symbol steel” created by workers on the site. The artifacts are owned by The New York State Museum, which is having a dedication ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 11 to the opening of a museum specifically dedicated to the tragedy.

    As students and visitors alike walk through the Wang Center on their cellphones or with a carton of food quickly eating between classes during the afternoon, few stop and take in the privileged items that Stony Brook was bestowed. Most spectators of the exhibit gaze down from the second floor only for a minute in between classes.

    Jack Franqui, part of the custodial staff at the Wang Center, noticed that most people do not come during the day time to view the exhibit.

    “The biggest crowds of people that come for the exhibit are always during the night time,” Franqui said.

    The memories and feelings that come from viewing the exhibit may be very intense, and some may not want to let it out while going through the daily motions.

    “I believe that it is very important to keep the memory

    alive, but it is very bittersweet for some people,” said Jackie Nelson, an Asian-American Studies major, who heard about the exhibit through a professor.

    For some, it may be more bitter than sweet.

    Brenda Chapin, 44, and her son Benjamin, 7, came from their residence in Holbrook to see the artifacts as soon as they heard about it.

    “I had a friend who worked at AmEx on the 98th Floor of the World Trade Center, and when I heard that I could see the exhibit so close to home, I had to come and see it and show it to my son,” Chapin said.

    “New York Remembers” tells a story that some students at Stony Brook may be too young to recount. It is an important piece of history for New York and the country as a whole. Evoking emotion is clear evidence that the exhibit is a great sight for the community in the area to take advantage of when it is so accessible.

    The Director of Exhibitions and Programs for the New York State Museum, Mark Schaming, said Stony Brook was a prime candidate for having the exhibit.”Because of the population in the surrounding areas of Stony Brook and the great facilities it has to offer, Stony Brook was a good choice of venue for an exhibit of this importance,” Schaming said. Stony Brook’s central location on Long Island helped its cause as well.

    The Governor’s office in cooperation with Stony Brook held a ceremony last Thursday to celebrate the launching of the exhibit. Jennifer McNamara, the wife of a late first responder to the attacks, John McNamara, spoke at the ceremony. Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. and Commissioner Benjamin Lawsky, who represented the Governor’s office, also attended the ceremony.

    All the speakers discussed the importance of honoring and remembering the memories of those who lost their lives in such a tragic moment in American history.

    “I thank Stony Brook University for giving us all a place to come to remember,” McNamara said in an encompassing statement that reflected the mood of the exhibit itself.

    With this exhibit, students will not only be able to read about September 11 in their textbooks, but see it at their school.

     

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