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Our nation experienced a tragedy of unimaginable proportions on Tuesday, September 11. The scope of that day’s events is almost incomprehensible, especially since, until now, we here in America, unlike many other peoples around the globe, have been relatively unscathed by horrendous acts of this sort.

In the wake of those horrific events, we have all experienced a range of feelings and emotions – sadness, anger, fear, dismay, frustration. As the country has worked to recover from this catastrophe, we have all shared a sense of loss. Some of us have been affected more directly, as we have learned of relatives or friends that have been victims of this attack. But all of us have mourned for the thousands of innocent victims -- mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, children, parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews – along with the heroic firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel who lost their lives in the selfless attempt to save others. Our prayers and thoughts will continue to be with all those who have suffered these losses that God may grant them strength and solace in their time of sorrow.

The tragic events that have befallen our nation also provide a heartrending reminder that violence is far too prevalent in our world. It is at a time like this that it is especially important for us, as a community committed to fostering peace through education and mutual understanding, to remember that we all share a common abhorrence for these recent events and for violence against innocent people around the world. Now, more than ever, we must offer our example as a community that respects and honors all of its members as we mourn for those who have died or been injured and pray, each in our own way, for the peace and understanding that our world so desperately needs.

There is no question that all of us at La Roche College reject terrorism and yearn for a day when the world will be free of such evils. But let us also remember that terrorism will never be eliminated until the world community addresses the root causes of injustice that spur some to these desperate measures. As an institution dedicated to peace, as exemplified by the Pacem in Terris Institute, La Roche College can help build a better world. The key to that better future is you, the students. You have it within your power to create a world that recognizes and respects our common humanity, and, in so doing, offers new ways of resolving the differences that divide people.

In the days and weeks ahead, as we all struggle to come to grips with these tragic events, let us honor the memory of those who died and set an example for others to follow by rededicating ourselves to living our commitment to peace and understanding in our daily lives. With God’s help, and our firm resolve, we can take a step towards a world where peace and justice are enjoyed by all.

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