The College of Dupage Commemorates 9-11 in Connection to the Homeland Security Center


The view outside the College of DuPage’s Homeland Security Center exhibits American flags to pay tribute to all victims of 9-11. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Matilda McLaren, Sports Editor

Every year, citizens from across the world remember the tragedy that occurred during the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia. The lives lost and the acts of valor on that notable day are commended for their contribution to the American spirit of resilience and selflessness. These characteristics are cherished annually in customs and ceremonies, such as the memorial ceremony hosted by College of Dupage. 

College of DuPage will host a September 11th ceremony to honor the victims of the attacks. The ceremony will virtually commence at 7:30 am and broadcast from the Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center. 

According to the College of DuPage website, “The HEC is a multi-jurisdictional training center that features a full-scale indoor street scene, forensic and cybercrime labs, command center, smoke room and scaling and rappelling tower.” 

Faculty from the College of DuPage prepare speeches for the remembrance ceremony each year. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The education center also contains the training center, which provides advanced instruction to prospective first responders, incorporating both simulations and hands-on activities.

At exactly 7:46 a.m during the ceremony, a moment of silence will be held to revere the ongoing efforts of professionals across campus to maintain peace and security in Glen Ellyn. This assembly has become a COD staple and the college has even recorded several of its past successful ceremonies. 

In addition to earnest remembrance, heartfelt remarks will be made by College of Dupage President Brian Caputo, the institution’s Homeland Security Training Institute Director Tom Brady as well as the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy Program Supervisor Tom Ross. 

COD students might inquire why the Homeland Security Education Center is an opportune location for the commemoration. President Dr. Caputo responded to this question in a recent news release, saying, “The Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center is a fitting location to remember the lives of those we lost in the Sept. 11 attacks.” 

He elaborated, “This building helps prepare future first responders. The center also houses a 1,000-pound beam section from the World Trade Center, which serves as a permanent memorial and a tangible piece of history for our students, faculty, staff and community members.” 

Pictured above are members of the Glen Ellyn fire department placing white flowers on the World Trade Center beam relic. Source: Wikimedia Commons

COD’s World Trade Center Beam Memorial

As Caputo indicated, the beam section from one of the real World Trade Center Towers is a palpable reminder of strength for all who have the chance to see it. “The beam is a symbol of our resilience and our capacity to endure our darkest moments and overcome them,” he said. “We have an obligation as a community to remember and respect with gratitude those who died as well as the difficult but important history of 9/11.”

The College of DuPage was one of the select educational institutions nationwide to receive the relic, often referred to as the World Trade Center I-beam, in 2011. The beam is located directly outside the doors to one of the school’s auditoriums.

Annually, first responders and police officers pay tribute during the COD remembrance ceremony. Source: Wikimedia Commons

During his portion of the speech in the 2021 College of DuPage online commemoration, COD Homeland Security Training Institute (HSTI) Director Tom Brady explained the significance of the relic to the school’s pride and sense of moral responsibility. “We’re the only community college in the state of Illinois with a beam from the World Trade Center Towers,” he said. “The 1,000-pound, 10 foot long beam is a source of inspiration and motivation within this building for students seeking degrees, for the faculty and staff to do what they do each and every day and for the next generation of first responders who train here for the future.”

Each year, members of local Glen Ellyn law enforcement place white flowers on the beam to exhibit their respect and gratitude.

Citizens can also decorate the World Trade Center beam during the ceremony. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Every year, the College of DuPage offers financial assistance to students pursuing first-responder career paths. Source: Wikimedia Commons

COD’s Inaugural 9/11 Memorial Scholarship Recipients

In addition to educating their students and the surrounding community on the importance of remembering 9/11, the college recently established a program of scholarships specifically for students looking to continue their involvement in first responder professions after graduation. 

The financial assistance program was created for the College’s 20th remembrance ceremony  for the attacks at the World Trade Center.

Each year, the recipients of the scholarship are honored by the Marketing and Communications Office at College of DuPage in conjunction with the Homeland Security Training Institute.

Gestures like these made by the College ensure professional readiness for students pursuing careers as first responders while giving back to the community through compensation and sincere memoriam.