WT’s remembrance of 9/11 engraved in stone

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022 marks the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. West Texas A&M University helped memorialize the attacks by donating $100,000 for the building of the Flight 93 memorial in Stoystown, PA.

“Many experts think that that plane was going to hit either the White House or the Capitol,” said James Calvi, the former Associate Dean of the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences. “The fact that those people stopped that from happening, there’s no telling what damage they might have done if they had not stopped it.”

(Dr. James Calvi visited the Flight 93 memorial recently and is posed next to West Texas A&M Universities name at the Visitor Center Complex. (James Calvi)

Calvi recently visited the plane crash site and memorial to document the engraving of our school name on the donation plaque of the building.

Back in 2012, former President Bill Clinton visited WT to talk to people as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series, a university effort to inspire and enlighten students, faculty and the community.

“I was chair of the Distinguished Lecture Series committee, but I always like to tell people that a member of our committee named Matt Naples, who is no longer at the university, was the one who was really instrumental in getting President Clinton to come,” Calvi said. “[Matt Naples] was calling Clinton’s people every day practically to get them to come in.”

To pay for the visit from the former president, Clinton was joining with former president Bush to fundraise for the building of a memorial to honor the 44 lives that died on the plane. The $100,000 donation was created using student activity fees for the distinguished lecture series.

“[The donation] was to build the memorial,” Calvi said. “It’s a beautiful Memorial, a huge building and they have pictures of everyone who died near the crash site.”

Flight 93 National Memorial is managed by the National Parks Service, with it being created in 2002. The site is less than 500-miles away from ⅔ of the nation’s population. There are three locations at the site, the Visitor Center Complex, which has WT’s name on it, Memorial Plaza, the Wall of Names and The Tower of Voices.

Flight 93 National Memorial sign on US Route 30 entering the park. (Shutterstock)

“I wanted WT students to know this, because I think it is a big deal that we have our name on that plaque,” Calvi said.

The sacrifice of Flight 93 passengers and crew helped save countless lives in the Washington D.C. area. The memorial is a reminder of when people recognize a situation and stand together as people to hijack a narrative. Lives were lost on 9/11, but countless were saved as a result of the people on that plane.

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