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September 14. 2013 9:09PM

Day of Service

St. Anselm focuses on building community in a post-9/11 world


Warren Medeiros of Villa Augustina School helps St. Anselm student Gabriella Tellez of Vermont dismantle a picnic table while student Greg Colputts, left, tackles his part of the job. (SUSAN CLARK/Union Leader Correspondent)

GOFFSTOWN - Lyndsay Robinson, St. Anselm College Class of 2014, was in fourth grade on Sept. 11, 2001. Although she did not lose a loved one, the events hit home.

"The boy sitting next to me in class lost his father that day. His dad was in one of the planes that crashed," said Robinson. "One of my substitute teachers worked at Logan Airport, and the terrorists walked right by her going onto the plane. She had no idea he was a terrorist until afterward. She has not been on a plane since."

In 2012, Robinson founded the Day of Service to remember the events of 9/11 and the nearly 3,000 people who died and to honor the military men and women who continue to serve overseas.

On Saturday, about 220 people took part in the 2013 Day of Service, with about 170 volunteering to do community service work at 21 locations.

The weeklong events included a candlelight vigil and Mass on Sept. 11 and showing the documentary "New York Says Thank You," on Thursday.

Robinson said her generation has grown up knowing evil in the world.

"It forced us to mature and live a life of fear," she said in her speech on Saturday. "My generation continues to see the darkness in the world. In just one year, two tragic events struck too close to home - the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon bombings. From shootings in grocery stores, to movie theaters, to malls, it is hard to imagine a world without evil. But there is hope in the world."

Marine Capt. Anthony Vercollone, a 2008 graduate of the college who has served in Afghanistan, said, "There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends," before volunteers headed off to their community service projects.

After about three hours, the groups returned to St. Anselm, where some helped fill care packages to send to military overseas. The afternoon included speeches by David Lang, president of the New Hampshire Firefighters Association, and Dr. Steven DiSalvo, president of St. Anselm College.

The day ended with a barbecue served by the students' Knights of Columbus with special guests from the Goffstown fire and police departments.

"Today is about celebrating our freedom as Americans," Robinson said. "It is not just what happened on 9/11 that matters, but the days after when the whole country came together, and how it still comes together in times just like this. We are building a community after 9/11."

sclark@newstote.com


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