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9/11 20th anniversary commemorations planned at W&M

  • A large photo of the World Trade Center memorial on the wall behind a glass case containing flat white architectural models related to the site.
    Space for reflection:  The Muscarelle Museum of Art at William & Mary's exhibition “Forever Marked By The Day” opens Sept. 10 and will run through Jan. 9, 2022.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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William & Mary will mark Saturday’s 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. with commemorations to honor those whose lives were lost or affected.

Events, ceremonial ringing of the Wren Bell and a new exhibition at the Muscarelle Museum of Art will mark the date, which is known as Patriot Day.

The museum’s exhibition “Forever Marked By The Day” opens Friday and will run through Jan. 9, 2022. Gallery talks about the exhibition will be held Friday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The exhibition is centered around the World Trade Center site and pays homage to the architects, artists, designers and photographers whose creativity, both before and after the attacks, delivered a sequence of urban infusions that celebrated the human spirit, according to museum officials.

Today’s World Trade Center site serves as a memorial designed to honor the people who died there and the heroes who responded, and it connects the past and the future to the present through architecture, according to promotional materials for the exhibition. The buildings and spaces designed by Daniel Libeskind, Michael Arad, David Childs and Santiago Calatrava function as channels to find new purpose and peace after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Arad won the competition for the 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center site, and he designed the two reflecting pools at the site of the Twin Towers. He was a guest speaker for a Muscarelle virtual “Healing by Design” lecture in the spring, according to Muscarelle Director David Brashear.

Three weeks later, Brashear realized the 20th anniversary was coming up and asked Arad if he could use any of his materials for an exhibit. Arad said he had given all of his materials to the New York Historical Society but could provide a contact person there.

The project that has resulted from this beginning is unique, according to Brashear. It includes building models and a sketch book from the office of Libeskind, who created the master plan for the One World Trade Center site, as well as original drawings and a model from Arad.

Muscarelle officials put the exhibition together with cooperation from numerous individuals and organizations willing to provide assistance, including the architectural offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Santiago Calatrava.

“We’re looking at the whole tragedy through an art lens, through the lens of architecture,” Brashear said. “But really one of my primary motivations was to create a space, almost like a chapel, for reflection. You may or may not as a visitor grasp the sequence. I think it’s going to be fairly clear, but it’s architecture; it’s not paintings.

“It’s photography and it’s architecture, so that’s going to resonate with some visitors, while others may find it a bit more challenging. But if nothing else, my hope is that the galleries serve as spaces for people to think and to reflect and to remember and to find a little peace. And of course, we will honor our beloved William & Mary grads who passed away in the World Trade Center and also in the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, by placing their names on a memorial wall in the exhibition.”

Other commemorations planned for Saturday:

  • W&M President Katherine A. Rowe will participate in Colonial Williamsburg’s 9/11 remembrance ceremony on Saturday at 8:45 a.m. at the Colonial Courthouse. The event is free and open to the public.
  • Students, including student military veterans, will ring W&M’s Wren Bell 30 times — 20 for the anniversary, seven for alumni lost on 9/11 and three for two alumni and one student killed in military service after 9/11 — at 8:46 a.m. and 10:28 a.m. to commemorate the times the first World Trade Center tower was hit and the second tower fell.
  • W&M’s Sunken Garden will feature small American flags, provided by the university’s Young Democrats and College Republicans, honoring those who died in the 9/11 attacks.
  • A commemorative wreath will be placed at the top of the Sunken Garden, where the university’s ROTC will stand guard alongside it.
  • The Tribe’s first home football game of the year will feature a moment of silence and commemorative red, white and blue W&M logo stickers on players’ helmets as part of the 6 p.m. kickoff against Lafayette at Zable Stadium.