“Remember 9-11-01: E Pluribus Unum, From Many One”
Joel E. Anderson, Chancellor
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Our Community’s Interfaith Ten-Year Remembrance
Clinton Presidential Center
Little Rock, Arkansas
September 11, 2011, 2:30 p.m.
Ten years ago this morning.
We all remember where we were when we got the news that a passenger plane had flown into one of the skyscrapers in New York City.
We remember the television pictures of the smoke and fire, the second plane hitting the second tower, persons jumping out of the buildings to death on the sidewalks in order to escape death by fire, faces of pain and fear among thousands of people on the streets—and in time we saw both mighty towers fall, carrying thousands of building occupants and brave first responders to their deaths.
We remember the Twin Towers victims, and the first responders, and the victims of the companion terrorist acts that brought more deaths at the Pentagon and to those on board United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.
We remember the men and women who, after that day, worked long and hard with great devotion to remove the rubble, find the missing, and rebuild.
And we remember the Americans who, since then, around the globe, have been wounded, defaced, crippled, and died in the struggle against terrorism.
All of these memories, and more, those of us who were alive on September 11, 2011, cannot forget.
Terrible national experiences, such as 9-11, make it very important that we remember some other things.
The victims that morning who took their seats on those four passenger planes, and those who showed up for work in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, were of numerous faiths—Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and more.
And of the 2600 who died, 353 were from 24 other countries all around the world.
The victims of 9-11 were in fact emblematic of the United States of America which draws strength from the people of many nationalities, races, religions, and ancestries that have come here and become a part of the fabric of our country.
E pluribus unum. Latin words that have been on American coins since the 1780’s, carrying the message, out of many, one.
We should remember that the United States of America has been strong because early European immigrants came for religious liberty, and the U. S. Constitution less than two centuries later enshrined, not a state church, not a national religion, but just the opposite: a guarantee of religious liberty, for all!
The result was e pluribus unum. Out of many, one.
Out of many nationalities, out of numerous religions, one people.
The United States of America remains a work in progress.
But our success in achieving unity out of diversity has helped fuel the hope that, some day, around the globe, people will achieve e pluribus unum.
Given the discord and the absence of peace that have followed in the wake of 9-11, it is timely and appropriate that on the Tenth Anniversary we remember and rededicate ourselves to the marvelous blessings for all of us of e pluribus unum .