GRADUATION: A Call to Duty: 9/11 Commission
Tells Class of 2005 to Accept Challenges and Reject Pat Answers
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CLASS OF 2005,
the largest in Penn Law’s history, got an equally big send-off last
May during a commencement ceremony in which they were told to heed the
lessons of 9/11 by challenging received wisdom.
Jamie S. Gorelick, a member of the 9/11 Commission, implored these future
lawyers to develop a respect for facts, maintain their independence, and
appreciate “the cleansing power of transparency,” just as
she and her colleagues had done in investigating what led to the worst
terrorist attacks ever on American soil.
She also advised students to resist the impulse to shrink from unpopular
work, though it may subject them, as Commission members discovered, to
criticism and vilification.
“It may indeed be safer … to stay on the sidelines, to avoid
the fray, but how satisfied will you be in the end?” asked Gorelick.
“And how much worse will your country and your world be if you do
not risk the fight? … Great issues will be debated, great arguments
won and lost, in your lifetimes. The resulting decisions will be much
better if you have engaged.”