A year after the tragic attack on The Ohio State University campus, Buckeyes gathered today to honor those injured in the attack and to recognize the resilience of the university community.
Students, faculty and staff lined all three levels of the Ohio Union Great Hall for #BuckeyeStrong: A Moment of Reflection. Last November, a car driven by Abdul Razak Ali Artan raced onto a sidewalk and struck multiple people near the corner of West 19th Avenue and College Road. Investigators say Artan also attacked pedestrians with a knife before Ohio State University Police Officer Alan Horujko shot him.
“We’re here because we are a community. We have adopted the slogan Buckeye Strong to reflect our community,” said President Michael V. Drake. “Our community was strong that morning, the first responders were strong that morning, the students were strong that morning, the faculty were strong that morning, our staff members were strong that morning, our personnel at our medical center were strong that morning and all throughout central Ohio, we came together as a community.”
Drake said the community must still keep those who were injured in their thoughts and prayers because their memories of that day will stay with them forever.
Senior Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston and Undergraduate Student Government President Andrew Jackson joined Drake at the podium in the Ohio Union. Both commented on how the university community came together after the attack.
“It was a time that tested our resilience, our resolve and our strength,” Adams-Gaston said. “I am so proud of Ohio State. Together we proved that we are resolved and we are Buckeye Strong.”
“Negative events, and how we process them, ultimately determine our resiliency,” Jackson said. “The Buckeye community is always at work, even in difficulty. Whether that means fostering dialogue, serving others in need or working to create change, our community never stops working to make things better.”
A mural was set up in the union for students, faculty or staff to share their thoughts and reflections on what it means to be Buckeye Strong. Messages supporting first responders and fellow students began to fill the wall.
Drake closed the ceremony by leading the crowd in a rendition of Carmen Ohio. The message of strong friendship through time and change resonated with the crowd.
“I make a point of taking time to count my blessings. We are all so fortunate to be part of an institution, of a community, that is here to create a future for all of us – to create a better life for all of us and to be able to work to do our best to optimize our human potential,” Drake said. “And that’s something to appreciate and to make sure that we recognize how fortunate we are every day.”