On Sept. 11, 2001, 15 Binghamton University alumni lost their lives. Sixteen years later, student organizations memorialized the victims, hosting a good-deed marathon and planting 2,996 small American flags along the Spine.
For the past 13 years, Chabad and Hillel have hosted the Mitzvah Marathon on 9/11.
The demonstrations are designed to pay tribute to victims’ lives and encourage students to do a mitzvah, or a good deed, in their honor. Mariah Stein, the president of Chabad and a senior majoring in human development, said she believes people are starting to forget 9/11.
“It’s something that happened a while ago and people are starting to connect less and less, so having something like this, even if it’s just for a second, it gets people to remember it,” Stein said.
The Mitzvah Marathon featured different booths where students could donate to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, make sandwiches for a local soup kitchen or cards for sick children and troops overseas. Additionally, students could participate through a blood drive held in the University Union’s Mandela Room, where they received stickers reminding them that “a little light dispels much darkness.”
After students finished making their sandwiches or writing their cards, they wrote their names on cards that featured a picture of a 9/11 victim and posted them to a fence on the Spine. Troy Parker, a senior double-majoring in political science and history, said he made sandwiches to remember the victims in a more positive light.
“Obviously it’s a very difficult day for some people and it’s an important day for the country where we can come together, and I think things like this are helpful no matter what the day is, but today especially,” Parker said.
Betty Cohn, director of engagement at Chabad and a junior studying in biomedical ethics in the individualized major program, worked with participants in creating cards for sick children and veterans as a part of the event’s theme of promoting positivity.
“I think it is very important because it is usually a sad day and we’re really trying to have people do good deeds today and do really good things and try to generate some positively in the day,” Cohn said.
As the sun began to set on Sept. 10, members of the College Republicans and the Binghamton Review planted one flag for each victim along the Spine. Each flag represented one victim of the attacks. According to Anthony Covelli, president of the College Republicans and a junior majoring in political science, the flags were planted as a sign of respect for those who did not come home.
“It’s important to honor those who lost their lives, and it’s definitely important to remember all of those fallen heroes and innocent people that passed away so tragically,” Covelli said.
Since 2002, the University has honored the victims through an outdoor memorial located in the courtyard of the Fine Arts Building.
Eric Lee and Dillon Savino contributed reporting to this story.