Yellow Ribbons Honor 20th Anniversary of 9/11, Afghanistan Victims

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To honor U.S. Service personnel who recently lost their lives in the Kabul, Afghanistan airport and to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, members of the Dominican University Student Veterans Organization (DUSVO) and DU Veterans Services tied yellow ribbons around trees on campus.

The solidarity effort was led by Santos Carter, Veterans Coordinator and Financial Aid Counselor, and is symbolic of the sense of caring the Dominican community shares in times of grief. The event also honored the veteran student community. Dominican has 26 veteran and military-connected students enrolled receiving some form of VA education benefit, 15 of whom are taking advantage of Dominican’s Yellow Ribbon program, studying in a range of programs including nursing, business analytics, and Global Public Health.

“Watching the news and images come out of Kabul and Afghanistan has been incredibly painful for many, especially for Afghanistan veterans and their families. As more news and events have unfolded out of Afghanistan and as the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, we felt compelled to show our support,” Santos says.

“It’s both natural and understandable for all Veterans and their families to experience a range of emotions about the developments in Afghanistan and we cannot fully comprehend what our Veteran students and their families have gone through. By tying Yellow Ribbons on campus, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind our Veterans that we at Dominican are here to support you. We are forever in your debt, and we are here to help you through this difficult time.”

Thirteen yellow ribbons were tied to trees along Acacia Avenue – one each as a tribute to 11 Marines, one Army soldier, and a Navy corpsman killed in a suicide bombing attack in Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 19.

Another yellow ribbon was tied to the 9/11 memorial Crepe Myrtle tree that was planted and granite stone monument that was set 20 years ago on the Anne Hathaway Lawn. That memorial was inspired by Dominican students to honor victims of the tragedies at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a remote field in Pennsylvania on that date in 2001. Four Dominican alumni lost loved ones in those attacks and two Dominican alumni –Tasia Scourkes Neeve ’02 MBA and Lisa Bennett ’01 MBA – were called into action to provide disaster assistance and support for the American Red Cross.

The standing-room-only memorial tree-planting ceremony at Dominican two weeks later was attended by more than 200 students and faculty members. It was led by then-President Joseph R. Fink, Father Robert Haberman, and Sister Mary Aquinas, O.P.

“Students were invited to come up and read poetry that they wrote and say words if they wanted to,” recalls Lisa Wagenhurst, administrative coordinator for the Department of Nursing. “So many lives were impacted by 9/11. It was a difficult semester for everyone because of the uncertainty and fear. Everyone pulled together as us Penguins do and helped each other, because that's what we do in times of trouble at Dominican.”

The DUSVO provides a positive presence for veterans, dependents of veterans and active- duty personnel on campus while contributing to the overall cultural diversity of the University. In October 2019, DUSVO was officially recognized as a charter of the Student Veterans of America national organization. Membership is open to Dominican’s veteran and non-veteran student populations. There are six DUSVO members and two veteran faculty sponsors.

DUSVO helps address the challenges faced by military members transitioning from military service to the Dominican Experience by facilitating supportive services and active involvement within the campus and the surrounding community of Marin County.

For additional information regarding Veteran Services, contact Dominican’s School Certifying Official at: or call (415) 257-1350. For more information about the DUSVO or the Veteran Services Office, email


Photo above features (from left) Dominican veterans Eamon Tiernan-Land, Kenneth Waters, Santos Carter, Zelotes Smith, and Shelby Stutzman.

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