Mourning and remembrance
11 September 2002
These are remarks prepared by University of California,
Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl for delivery at the Sept.
11 memorial service on Sproul Plaza.
We gather today to mourn and to remember the nearly three
thousand people who perished in the terrorist attacks
in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania one year ago.
Those who died represented each of us, for they came from
every walk of life. They were stock brokers and bond traders,
busboys and clerks, maintenance workers and accountants.
They were pilots, flight attendants, business travelers,
families on holiday. They were military and civilians
working in the Pentagon. Many, as we know, were police
officers and fire fighters. Many were heroes, including
some of our own alumni, who died saving others. Some sacrificed
themselves to prevent yet another airplane from being
turned into a missile. Some were able to speak with loved
ones before they died; others had no chance to bid farewell.
of those who died, but by no means all, were Americans. People
from all nations have mourned in many languages. People of all
races and of every religion were murdered on that day. Like
each of us, they were people with hopes and dreams and plans
for their lives. They were the human family.
that fateful day, they died horribly and senselessly, victims
of men consumed by hatred and warped by homicidal political
ideology or unbridled religious fanaticism. The victims of September
11 did nothing to bring death upon themselves. They died in
a savage assault on the symbols of America.
gather today to mourn and to remember. We mourn their deaths
today because something in each of us died that day. We mourn
because our human family is diminished by their deaths. We mourn
them because they were innocent victims whose terrible deaths
cannot be justified -- in any way, by any twisted logic, or
by any demented rationalization. We mourn them because we mourn
for our world, for we know that the attacks that caused their
deaths have unleashed the "blood dimmed tide" of war
and that "everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned."
We mourn them because we are patriots who know that our liberties,
bought at so dear a price over more than two centuries of struggle,
must be safeguarded against diabolical attacks from without
and reckless zeal from within.
gather today to mourn and to remember. We remember the victims
of September 11, not only because we offer respect to persons
taken from us so violently, but because by remembering them
we remind ourselves of how precious life is. By remembering
them we remind ourselves that we are part of a human community
in which each life is of equal value in the eyes of God. By
remembering them, we remind ourselves of who we are and what
we stand for as a nation -- that "life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness" are not merely rights we claim as
Americans, but are rights inherent in each human being on this
is nothing more patriotic than to mourn and to remember in this
way. Some would measure our patriotism by how often or how loudly
we sing the national anthem or where we fly our flag. The true
measure our patriotism is how well we preserve the liberties
of the republic for which our flag stands. Our patriotism is
to be measured by whether we remember that while we pray to
live under God’s blessing, we also stand under God’s
judgment. Our patriotism is to be measured by whether we seek
freedom and justice for ourselves alone or whether we seek freedom
and justice for all.
Lux. Let there be light. Fiat Pax. Let there be