A message from Dr. Kathleen Plinske, Campus President, Osceola and Lake Nona
I almost can’t believe it, but we’ve completed our September 11 memorial! With the help of more than 100 students, staff, and community volunteers, we have installed 2,977 flags at the Osceola Campus, one for every person who was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The memorial would not have been possible without the amazing support of our community. Volunteers from the 463rd Cadet Squadron of Civil Air Patrol, Boy Scout Troop #202, the National Honor Society of St. Cloud High School, Osceola County Fire Rescue Explorers, the U.S. Fire Department Reserve Corp, the Rotary Club of Lake Nona, Phi Theta Kappa, Valencia Volunteers, and many employees and their families worked for the last two weeks to install all the poles. And, of course last Friday was a very special day with our students and employees hanging the flags.
Please plan to join us on Tuesday, September 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the Clock Tower when we host a memorial service to remember those lost on 9/11 and honor our local emergency responders. Our students will greet first responders in attendance and present them with red and white carnations to express our appreciation of their service.
To open the memorial service, we will have 50 students from the Denn John Middle School chorus perform “God Bless America,” followed by the presentation of colors by a multi-agency color guard composed of local firefighters and police officers. Then, Gina Marie Incandela, a 10-year-old girl from Celebration who has been diagnosed with autism, will perform the national anthem (she is amazing – you can watch a recent performance at an Orlando Magic game online).
Our guest speaker will be Colonel Ed McHale, chief of staff for the Special Operations Center of the U.S. Army. The program will close with a performance of “Taps” by the Osceola County Veteran’s Council and a performance of “Amazing Grace” by Lieutenant Walter Everson from Osceola County Emergency Services.
Please note that our Highway 192 entrance will be closed beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday to allow for the installation of a 60-foot flag that will be hung from the ladders of two fire engines.
In addition to our memorial service on Tuesday, the Osceola Campus is proud to host Pathways to Peace: A Week of Remembrance. I invite you to please join us in a variety of activities dedicated to engaging in ongoing conversation to deepen understanding, lead to acceptance, and create pathways to peace. I am hopeful that our memorial will help to encourage students and the community to participate in our series of events scheduled for our week of remembrance:
- “United We Stand for Peace” Interfaith Panel Discussion
Monday, September 10, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Building 1 Auditorium
Rabbi Steven Engel, Reverend Bryan Fulwider, and Imam Muhammad Musri will lead a discussion on monotheistic religions and violence. This will be followed with a question and answer period, moderated by Adriene Tribble, professor of humanities.
- Memorial Service to Honor First Responders
Tuesday, September 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Clock Tower
This county-wide memorial service will honor our local first responders and remember those who were lost on September 11th.
- “Joyeux Noël” Film and Focus Series
Wednesday, September 12, 6:00-8:50 p.m., Building 1 Auditorium
Documentary film showing and discussion lead by Paul Chapman, professor of humanities.
- “Religious Understanding,” Sikh Society of Central Florida
Thursday, September 13, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Building 1 Auditorium
Members of our local Sikh community will present on Sikhism, the recent shooting at a temple in Wisconsin, and what the Sikh Society of Central Florida is doing in the community.
All are welcome to attend Pathways to Peace, and we appreciate you inviting and encouraging your students to take part in all of these activities. Click here for a PDF version of our flyer to download and share as well.