By Ethan Shea
In honor of the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Villanova University will be hosting several events to promote solemn reflection and conversation on the topic of 9/11. The keynote speaker of this series of events will be Michael Benfante, a 9/11 survivor and author of the book Reluctant Hero.
In the midst of the attacks, Benfante and a co-worker carried a woman in a wheelchair down 68 flights of stairs in the North Tower, a 96-minute process that allowed the three to escape just minutes before the building collapsed. Benfante was immediately greeted by cameras as he exited the building, and before long, he was speaking with Oprah Winfrey on national television. Reluctant Hero details not only his act of heroism, but the emotional turmoil Benfante faced in the aftermath of the attacks.
Falvey Memorial Library welcomes you to borrow this captivating book here. Reluctant Hero has recently been purchased by Falvey, and will soon be available in our own collection as well as through InterLibrary Loan. The book is currently on display on the first floor of the Library, along with several other books and newspaper clips regarding the 9/11 attacks. Feel free to visit this display at your leisure.
Villanova invites you to come listen to Michael Benfante speak at the Riley Ellipse at 3 p.m. on Sept. 10. Refreshments will follow. If it is to rain, the event will be held in the Villanova Room, Connelly Center.
In addition to Benfante’s speech, the following events will be taking place during the days leading up to the 20th anniversary of 9/11:
Interdisciplinary Panel Discussion
On Sept. 8, Tuan Samahon, JD, Catherine Warrick, PhD, and Joe Evans, a doctoral student of Theology, will take part in a discussion moderated by Tim Horner, DPhil. This event will take place from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Attend via this Zoom link.
“9/11 Human Library”: Firsthand Stories and Reflections
In a series of 15-minute, small-group conversations, attendees will have the opportunity to hear fellow Villanovans share personal experiences regarding 9/11. This event will be carried out in the President’s Lounge at the Connelly Center at 4 p.m. on Sept. 9.
After Mr. Benfante’s speech, at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 10, there will be a candlelight procession as well as readings and music from different faith traditions on the Rowen Campus Green. In the case of rain, this event will be held in the Villanova Room, Connelly Center.
9/11 Memorial Display
Almost 3,000 people, including 15 Villanova alumni were killed during the attacks. Fourteen Villanovans were in the World Trade Center and one was working as a flight attendant on Flight 175. In the Presidents’ Lounge, between Sept. 8 and Sept. 10, there will be a memorial display to honor these victims. Additionally, the stained glass window in Corr Hall Chapel, which is dedicated to these 15 victims, is a permanent reminder of the lives tragically lost on this fateful day.
Additionally, Falvey Memorial Library has created a display on the first floor to remember those lost that day, including those from our own community.
Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.