A moment worth remembering


police salute

UC Police officers in full dress uniform salute in unison the flowers around the reflecting pool on Memorial Glade.
Peg Skorpinski photo

18 September 2001 | Marie Felde, director of Media Relations, faced the crowd from one edge of the stage during Monday’s campus memorial service. These are her reflections.

Memorial Glade was dedicated in 1997, in memory of those lost in World War II, but on Monday it was fully realized as a place with lasting meaning for this campus.

Twelve thousand people entered the glade at noon on a cloud-chilled day, many not really knowing quite what to expect — of the day or of themselves. When the service concluded, in the pale sunlight, they walked back to class, work or home still saddened by memories of last week’s terrorist attack on America, but tied together by the shared experience.

Anita Madrid, the staff ombudsperson, captured the ideal of the day in her opening remarks. "Today we gather not as staff, students, faculty or friends. Today we gather as one community, one family, one people."

Her words matched the moment.

Professor Robert Hass, speaking with unexpected informality, looked out from his seat at the throngs of people, not only on the glade but on balconies and patios surrounding it. "This is an extraordinary gathering. This is a moment worth remembering, so look around."

Even before this moment, as the Berkeley Wind Ensemble played and the UC Chorus sang, we gazed into the crowd looking for faces of friends or co-workers. As the hour progressed, more and more individuals came into view.

Students, of course, were in abundance. One laid her head on another’s shoulder. It remained there throughout the service. Staff members sat or stood, often by twos and threes with office mates. A small group from California Hall sat center stage on the damp grass. Rows and rows behind them, near a small group of trees, was a contingent from the registrar’s office. One colleague, still recovering from a terrible automobile accident months before, had returned to campus for the service and her friends’ embrace.

High up on the top floor of Evans Hall, every space on the balcony was occupied. Faculty members you knew by sight, if not by name, could be seen, many standing near Doe Library. One vice chancellor stood craning to see around a loudspeaker. One vice provost stood silently moved to tears.

Those few who came to protest possible military action stood with their "No War" sign as respectfully as did those who came to share the memorial service with elderly relatives, for whom chairs were somehow found.

Campus police officers were serving double duty. They came for crowd control and security, but they wore their dress uniforms out of respect for the police officers and firefighters who perished in New York trying to save lives. At the glade's memorial fountain, one officer placed a blue iris on the mound of flowers and snapped a salute.

The service was solemn but not sad. Afterward people lingered, not wanting to leave behind the peaceful, reassuring moment. For many, hugs and smiles had replaced, at least for a time, fearfulness and tears.

Memorial Glade had been transformed. Intended as a symbol of remembrance for one generation of Berkeleyans looking back, it has become a place of meaning for another looking ahead.


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