The Oswego State College Republicans, lined thousands of American flags around the Marano Campus Center entrance Wednesday to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Thirteen years ago, a crisp and clear Tuesday morning spiraled into a dark day for many Americans. Nineteen combatants of the Islamic extremist group, al-Qaida, claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans, including 12 Oswego State alumni, in the hijacking of four U.S. airliners.
The string of violent attacks began at 8:45 a.m. when the terrorist group flew two planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, into the World Trade Center, in New York City. At 9:43 a.m., the American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon, in Arlington, Va. and by 10:10 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pa.
While millions of Americans continue to memorialize the victims on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, the children of 2001, now university students, hope to bring remembrance as well.
“A lot of innocent people died and we are trying to remember those lives,” said College Republicans Vice President, R.J. Diego. “Everybody that was a part of 9/11 had people that loved them dearly.”
In 2001, Diego was a Virginia resident at the time of terror. Living a short distance from the deadly attacks, Diego remembered that his father worked across the street from the Pentagon. Though Diego was only in kindergarten at the time, he still carries the impact of the day.
“I saw how upset my parents were, my mom was crying. [Dad] knew people that were in the Pentagon…later on in life, he was able to talk to me about it, and [he] said it was a scary moment,” Diego said.
Kneeling to get a few more flags from her pocket to stick inside the mulch pit, chairwoman Victoria Diana of the College Republicans Chapter at Oswego, explained that the memorial has had a positive impact on students.
“People that are directly impacted by the attacks see this and it makes the day a little easier if they lost a loved one, or [if] they lived in Manhattan and lived near what happened,” Diana said.
Counting the amount of flags to post in the ground, College Republicans treasurer Dan Sorokti said that students cannot overlook memorial services on Sept.11.
“We can never forget the tragedy that happened on 9/11,” Sorokti said. “Three thousand Americans died that day. It’s for them [students] to walk by see it and make tribute to the Americans that died. It’s good for them to remember what happened.”
Many students agree with College Republicans. Students who walked past the commemoration said that they felt the memorial service will bring understanding to the college community.
“This is a wake-up call to kids in college,” freshman Tian Burt, said. “You came here for the fun and the socializing and knowing your future but at the same time, be aware of what can happen all around the world.”
Sophomore Sam Schneller was in first grade when the 9/11 attacks occurred. He said that memorial services are great for the students of the university.
“It is a really touching ceremony toward the 9/11 incident, and it’s great for the school to be doing something,” Schneller said.
The College Republicans have displayed the flags every year since 2001.