Students gathered Sept. 7 on front campus to arrange 2,977 flags — one for each person from 115 countries who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil — as part of BJU’s annual display to honor the victims.
The display also features two beacon lights that represent the World Trade Center towers and a Wall of Remembrance displays the names of those who perished.
Sophomore health sciences student Karis Martin said that participating in the event was important to never forget.
“Even though most of our students do not remember the day of 9/11, I love that we are specifically taking time to commemorate the loss our country went through and the strength we gained from it. It may not resonate as much with the younger generation, but we can always choose to remember,” she said.
Remembering the Fear
BJU social science professor Dr. Linda Abrams remembers her daughter calling her from Boston the morning of the Sept. 11 attacks, telling her to turn on the news.
Terrorists stayed at a Boston hotel near her daughter’s church and flew out of the city, so reminiscence of the attacks hits slightly closer to home for Abrams. “It is pretty chilling to know that they stayed there; they boarded those planes at Logan Airport where I fly into all the time.”
Abrams noted that other than Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States had not been attacked prior to 9/11 since the War of 1812, which is a reason why the events took many Americans by surprise.
“I think we felt fairly invincible because we are so isolated from other countries and from countries who do not like us,” she said.
Abrams said “(the terrorists) understood American culture,” which was evident in how they threatened to slit the throats of female flight attendants. The terrorists knew that the pilots would abandon their station to come help women. “They understood what it took to get control of those planes and do what they did,” Abrams said.
Sharing the Memories
Abrams recognizes that most college students today were not old enough at the time to remember the events. However, with the resources available that depict a vivid picture, Abrams believes students have the means to give the day proper respect, especially on the 20th anniversary.
“Even people who are not old enough to understand have heard the tales because you hear eyewitness accounts of people who did witness it; that is pretty unique,” said Abrams, who emphasized that seeking information is one of the most important means of remembrance.
“Because of the modern era in which we live, there are all kinds of physical artifacts, pictures, (and) conversations that you can access easily in order to get a sense of what happened on that day, although the fear and panic is something unique.”