To all members of the MIT community:
Exactly one year ago today, we awoke to a beautiful early fall morning. The sun was warm, the sky an intense blue, and the school year was just picking up its rhythm.
Within a few hours, that rhythm and our lives were changed in ways no one could have imagined. From those first horrific moments when we realized that a plane crashing into the World Trade Center was no accident, we moved through the day with shock, dread and grief. But we also moved with resolve, respect and an extraordinary sense of caring for one another.
I have never been prouder to be a member of the MIT community than in those days and weeks following Sept. 11, as faculty, students and staff joined together to affirm what is best in us - as individuals and as a university. We held fast to the principles of open expression of ideas, of respect for our varied cultures and faiths, and of basing our actions on understanding. And we learned how deeply we depend on one another.
Throughout the year, we have worked together to deepen our community, to develop greater understanding of the root causes of global unrest, and to help create the systems (technological, economic and political) that will help secure a safer world for us all.
Today is a day of reflection and remembrance. It is also a day to rededicate ourselves to our mission "to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively and effectively for the betterment of humankind."
I want to thank all of you for what you have done and what you continue to do to make MIT an extraordinary center of learning and service to our nation and the world.
Charles M. Vest
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 11, 2002.