On Tuesday, over 200 students from Bob Jones University gathered on the front of BJU’s campus to set up 2,977 flags in honor of the live lost on Sept. 11, 2001. Many of the students who participated were not even alive on that tragic day, but they gathered to continue the nation's commitment to never forget the victims and heroes of that fateful day.
The flag display, accompanied by a full-scale exact replica of the I-beam cross memorial located at ground zero, continues a yearly BJU tradition commemorating 9/11. The original cross in New York City was erected from some of the debris at ground zero and still stands at the site. The replica was built by the stage crew at BJU. It stands the same height and features the same names that are inscribed on the original cross.
Carson Aaron, the men’s student body president, said the turnout encouraged him to know that today’s young people continue to honor the lives lost over two decades ago. “It's interesting to think that people who weren't even alive are now embodying the statement, ‘never forget’” Aaron said. “We want to give our student body and our community a chance to never forget.”
Paul Vosburgh, a junior business administration major who participated in the flag setup, said he came because he wanted to support the nation's values. “I believe that, as students, even though I wasn't alive for it, it is important for me to remember it and to show my honor and respect to those who did die and those who responded to it,” Vosburgh said.
This year’s display setup was organized by Amelia Herrera, a junior child development major who serves as the events coordinator for BJU’s Student Leadership Council. Herrera said that planning the event was not too difficult, since BJU has done this display for several years already.
Instead, Herrera, an international student from the Dominican Republic, noted the irony of having her organize the event. “The hardest part for me about this event is that I'm not American,” Herrera said. “So doing an event that's so important for the Americans was a little hard for me to try to understand the deepness and the emotional side of it.”
Aaron, however, said she did an excellent job enthusiastically jumping into the role. “She has somehow brought her own level of patriotism and organization, which is ironic because not all the people who died in 9/11 were American either,” Aaron said. People from over 100 countries perished during the attacks.
In addition to the flags and cross, the university will display a section of steel girder from the North Tower of the World Trade Center lobby of BJU’s Welcome Center. The lobby is open 7:30 a.m. – 10 p.m each weekday.