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IU Northwest pays tribute to servicemen and women in 9/11 observance

Deployed staff member whose special gift to campus was recognized at the event attends unexpectedly after coming home from Iraq on leave

IU Northwest employee 1SG Clarence Green presents a flag to campus.

IU Northwest File Photo
IU Northwest employee 1SG Clarence Green presents a flag to campus.

Together with campus ROTC members and local and state fire and police department representatives, the Indiana University Northwest campus community gathered Monday for a 9/11 observance and display of gratitude for those campus members who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. 

Following a ceremonial lowering of the flag to half-staff and a moment of silence to recognize the lives lost to terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Chancellor William J. Lowe spoke of the many legacies of that dark day, including the painful memories that “made us think of ourselves as a national community.” 

“An important legacy of that September day is that we have a new and very durable understanding and appreciation of public service,” Lowe said, “particularly the roles and contributions of first responders -- police officers, firefighters and medical personnel -- those who serve in the Armed Forces, and of course, our veterans.” 

Since the attacks, Lowe said, at least 100 IU Northwest students, and a number of other faculty, staff and alumni, have served or are currently serving in U.S. Armed Forces. 

“A day for remembering and reflection is also a time for us to express our gratitude to those who, every day, serve our nation and communities,” Lowe said. “Our own communities are stronger and safer because of their good work.” 

Next on the agenda was the presentation of an American flag for permanent display in the John W. Anderson Library Conference Center. Longtime IU Northwest employee 1SG Clarence Green, of the U.S. Army’s 801st Combat Support Hospital Det. 10, was deployed to Baghdad in late March, and he obtained the flag that was flown over Forward Operating Base Cropper in Iraq on July 4, 2011. 

Currently stationed just outside Baghdad, Green sent the flag as a token of gratitude for the support IU Northwest has offered to him and all those campus community members who serve in the armed forces. His wife, Suzanne Green, of the IU Northwest School of Public and Environmental Affairs, had been planning to present the flag on his behalf. 

Everyone was surprised to learn that Green was in attendance and would be presenting the gift to campus in person. The surprise came courtesy of an unexpected 13-day leave that he wasn’t sure would be granted. Thrilled to have him present, friends, family and colleagues quickly lined up for hugs and handshakes. 

In an email exchange with Green prior to his leave, he had thanked IU Northwest for supporting the soldiers, their families and our country in its fight against terrorism. He said it is truly an honor to have the flag he sent home now on permanent display at the home of his Northwest Indiana employer. 

“There is a lot of meaning behind the flags that soldiers are sending home . . . ,” Green wrote.  “It is a team effort and the people we have back home are part of that team. We would like to make sure that they get their recognition. The IU Northwest community has been there (for me) throughout my military career.”

U.S. Army Pfc. Carol Evener, of the IU Northwest Police Department, is also currently serving in Iraq.

Chancellor Lowe also acknowledged those military personnel who commit to their country while also earning their degrees. As a representative of those individuals, Lowe invited Sgt. Bridgette Kelly to the podium. 

Kelly, of the Army National Guard, is a 2011 School of Public and Environmental Affairs graduate whose studies were interrupted when she was deployed to Afghanistan while enrolled at IU Northwest. After her service, she returned to finish her master’s degree. 

Kelly approached the podium with no script in hand, saying she wanted to speak from her heart. She called for the continued need for unity. 

“When we see each other, we need to say thank you, thank you for serving, thank you for being who you are to our country, to our nation, and to our city,” said Kelly, referring to all public servants. 

“If I can leave you with anything, and what I’ve learned from September 11, 2001, is to stay unified, stay together, let’s continue to be a great nation and a great family,” she concluded.

In yet another gesture of thanks and remembrance, IU Northwest Muslim Student Association President Umbreen Khan stepped forward with fellow students to present the campus with a commemorative poster, the 9/11 Memorial Signature Collection. Throughout the previous week, the student organization had collected hundreds of signed sentiments from campus community members to those serving our country. 

Former IU Northwest student and Whiting native Jessica Lopez concluded the program by singing the National Anthem. Lopez is currently studying music composition at Columbia College in Chicago.


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Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

Additional Article Photos

IU Northwest File Photo
Muslim Student Association President Umbreen Khan presents the campus with a commemorative poster.

IU Northwest File Photo
Sgt. Bridgette Kelly