On Sept. 11, Tigers for Liberty (TFL), Trinity’s conservative student group, organized a tribute to those who died in the terrorist attacks that same day 16 years earlier. TFL members placed 2,977 flags around Miller Fountain; each flag honored an individual who lost their life on that day.
This year is only TFL’s second year as an official student organization. They wanted to organize a similar tribute last year, but the funding was not available to them at the time.
“Last year, we just put one larger American flag up that we had,” said Luke Ayers, TFL president and junior economics major. “We had some money left over last year and we were able to purchase the flags over the summer.”
Ayers also explained why TFL chose to honor victims in this specific way.
“This kind of memorial is actually a national project,” Ayers said. “It’s a project of Young America’s Foundation “” they sell the flags at a discount, and they send free resources to any student group that wants to do this kind of memorial on their campus. I have friends at Southern Methodist University and Angelo State and other schools that have done pretty much the same kind of memorial today.”
Ayers hopes to be able to put together a similar memorial next year.
“We are definitely hoping to do this again next year,” Ayers said. “I’m graduating next year, but hopefully TFL will do this years after that, as well.”
Ayers said that the memorial received a positive response.
“A lot of people have reached out to me and said they liked it. I’ve gotten messages from a couple people who work for the school,” Ayers said. “There’s a video on the school’s Facebook page, and Instagram and Twitter now. I’ve gotten a really positive response from everyone. I think this is a really good way to honor the people who died. It’s not particularly in-your-face, but it’s also hard to miss.”
Students passing by the fountain shared their thoughts about the memorial.
“I think it’s a good thing to remind all of the students of what today is,” said Morgan Block, junior English and geoscience major. “In the midst of the chaos going on around us, with the hurricanes and everything, and politically, it’s important to take a step back and remember what happened so long ago, even for some of us that may not remember it. I think it is important to remember, so I appreciate a group on campus realizing that and putting up the flags.”
Christiana Ellard, junior urban studies and global public health major, reflected on the importance of the location of the memorial.
“I also think it’s beautiful, the fact that the flags are in the middle of campus life, so people can walk by and take a second to say, “˜Wow, we remember what today is,'” Ellard said. “I think it’s just beautiful to be able to take a second and step away from what’s going on in your life and reflect on the bigger picture.”
Tina Skeen, first-year biology major, also shared her thoughts.
“The fact that people have continued to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 has symbolized America’s ability to unite together as one country,” Skeen said. “The 9/11 project at Trinity made me really happy because it showed how deeply the university cares for this day and allows students and faculty to take the time and empathize.”