The American flag near the Ingalls Mall flew at half-mast Thursday above 2,977 miniature flags spread across the Diag to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The recently founded student group Young Americans for Freedom organized the memorial as part of the “9/11: Never Forget Project.” Each flag honored one person who lost their life in the attacks. Eighteen Wolverines lost their life on 9/11.
The memorial aims to help incoming students — most of whom were in lower elementary school or younger in 2001 — visualize the scope of the attacks.
“Many college freshmen were only four years old when the attacks happened and they don’t have a real memory of the attack,” said LSA freshman Grant Strobl, chairman of the University chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. “Once they realize that each flag represents a victim of the attacks it becomes real.”
Many University students and faculty walking through the Diag stopped to reflect on the anniversary and take pictures of the memorial.
“It’s an event meant to bring the community together and unite us and not to ever separate us,” said Law School student Rachel Jankowski, a YAF adviser.
Members of the University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps also commemorated the anniversary of the attacks with a changing of the guard by the flagpole.
After folding in the 1970s, the University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom was restarted this semester. Strobl said the organization is a non-profit, non-partisan group that advocates the ideas of free market, limited government and a strong national defense.
The “9/11: Never Forget Project” arrived at the University four years ago. While this year Young Americans for Freedom sponsored the project, the College Republicans and the ROTC have organized the memorial in recent years.
The project was created by the Young America’s Foundation in 2003. This year over 200 high school and college campuses from across the nation participated in the project.
“We want this to be here for a number of years going forward,” said Business junior Brad Fingeroot. “… People that don’t remember it at all can still remember the tremendous human sacrifice that we had to go through and the loss of life.”