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Flight Memorial ceremony recognizes alumni, faculty and students that died in the last year

Flight Memorial ceremony recognizes alumni, faculty and students that died in the last year

Flight Memorial ceremony recognizes alumni, faculty and students that died in the last year
April 10
17:15 2019

The 13th annual Flight Memorial was held Wednesday on the South Lawn of of the University Union and honored the 664 students, faculty, staff and alumni that have died in the last year.

The tribute was to the 10 students, 35 faculty and staff members and 619 alumni, that died between March 1, 2018 and Feb. 28, 2019.

“We hold this flight ceremony each year so we can come together as a community and pay tribute to our fallen eagles,” said Elizabeth With, the vice president for Student Affairs. “They may be gone, but they will not be forgotten. This is a very difficult time for many of us here, but I love that the university celebrates all of the members of our community.”

Those who spoke during the ceremony shared their thoughts and words on grief and the UNT community.

“As a student myself, I know that UNT is more than a place where students come to learn — it is a home away from home and the relationships that form between the UNT community is as strong as family bonds,” Student Government Association President Muhammad Kara said. “Together, we feel joy with each success and sorrow with each loss of a member of our mean green family.”

The Assistant Director of training for UNT Counseling and Testing Services, Arlene Rivero Carr, was the chosen keynote speaker for the ceremony. She discussed the different aspects of grief and loss while sharing her experiences of being a therapist for people who have faced loss.

Guests put up an eagle claw during the Flight Memorial Ceremony Wednesday afternoon. The 13th annual memorial service was held in the south lawn. Image by: Samuel Gomez.

“Grief can be one’s most challenging emotional process no matter at what stage of life, and as a therapist, it can also be one of the most rewarding processes to witness,” Carr said.  “When we really stop to think about what makes the world go round and what people want and need, we know that humans have an innate need and desire to connect with one another. What’s really amazing about what happens when humans experience connection, love and belonging, is that healing and resilience occurs.”

Each year, four people are selected to sit on stage to honor each group of people that were being honored, Kara said. This year, those four representatives were Graduate Student Council President Giselle Greenidge, Staff Senator for the Division of Student Affairs Charlotte Cooke, journalism professor Sheri Broyles and UNT Alumni Association Executive Director Rob McInturf.

“If you’ve ever seen an eagle in flight, it is a beautiful sight,” Kara said. “It’s large graceful wings compel you to watch it soar across the sky. We call this the Flight Memorial service because we want to remember the beauty that all of these individuals brought to people who worked with them, learned from them or studied with them.”

UNT also has other permanent tributes and ways of remembering “fallen eagles.” The Sustaining Arch in the Library Mall serves as a memorial to those who have died, With said. The UNT flag on the south side of Willis Library is lowered to half staff for seven days when the university is notified of a death.

“Together, these tributes help all of us remember our fallen eagles and focus on the happiness they brought to our lives while they were with us,” With said. “They may not be here with us on Earth but they are certainly with us in our hearts.”

Featured Image: A woman places a lotus flower in Jody’s Pond to honor the memory of a loved one. The Flight Memorial Ceremony was held in the south lawn to remember students, faculty, and alumni who have died in the last year. Image by: Samuel Gomez.

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Kiara St. Clair

Kiara St. Clair

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