Never Forget: 2,977 flags planted on the Green in honor of the lives lost on 9/11

Sam Chaney, Managing Editor

In a day and age where America’s political landscape can only be described as becoming increasingly polarized, it was a sight to behold when UNF’s physical landscape was temporarily altered to reflect ideals such as unity and remembrance while offering a space for quiet contemplation on campus.

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, the UNF College Republicans hosted a “Never Forget” event on the Green as a means of honoring those who died 17 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001. Moreover, the area on the Green was designated as a space for students to sit and reflect on the day that changed the course of American history.

Photo by Sam Chaney.

“We’re all happy to see all the smiling faces this morning going to class,” Ryan Sutton, the digital media director for the College Republicans said. “[We’re] handing out flags and just trying to remind people to remember 9/11. Remember the good things we have and those who lost their lives suddenly that day.”

The event itself involved a prayer vigil, a total of five moments of silence and the planting of 2,977 American Flags—one flag for each life lost.

“The flags honor the people that tragically died. It was a threat on America, so we all wanted to honor them with American flags,” Tabitha Bingham, secretary of the College Republicans explained. “It just shows that we can’t be defeated. That this isn’t going to break us. That we are victors, not victims.”

According to Bingham, the moments of silence were coordinated according to five of the most significant moments during that historic day in 2001:

8:46 a.m., the moment that Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower.

9:03 a.m., when Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower.

9:11 a.m., in memory of the day itself.

9:37 a.m., when Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

And finally, 10:03 a.m., the moment that Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

The flags were intentionally placed on the green in a way that spelled out “9-11.” Photo by Sam Chaney.

Despite the fact that nearly two decades have passed, the nature of that day has been imprinted on the minds of so many Americans, including UNF students who were only children at the time.

“I was two years old when 9/11 happened,” President Zack Morse of the College Republicans told Spinnaker. “My mother was halfway across the country. It was the first emotional moment I remember having as a child. Cell phones were down and you couldn’t get in contact with anyone. I remember it was the first time I saw my dad really emotionally scrambling.”

According to Bingham, the College Republicans plan to make the “Never Forget” event a campus tradition.

“This is the first year that we’ve done this, and I would love to do it for years to come,” she affirmed. “This is important to us. This is important to America. This isn’t just a political issue, this is an American issue.”

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