Dear incoming class of first-years, and, well, every undergraduate at this University:
Today is the 18th anniversary of the senseless terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. You were likely born around that time, and although it may not be as evident anymore, your life and experiences have been forever altered because of that fateful tragedy. It is an enormous privilege to live in the free democracy that is modern America, and on this day in particular it should not be taken for granted.
It may seem like an ordinary day to you, but today someone is grieving for a loved one they lost that day, or in the coming years, as a consequence of their heroic sacrifice on 9/11.
It may seem like an ordinary day to you, but today a first responder is suffering through chronic trauma developed from risking everything to give strangers hope.
It may seem like an ordinary day to you, but today a deep-seated trauma surfaces again among a generation of people that remembers those who stumbled, those who lost and those who continue to live with the memory of this tragic event.