On Sept. 11, Tigers for Liberty (TFL), Trinityâ€™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 TFLâ€™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.
â€œLast year, we just put one larger American flag up that we had,â€ said Luke Ayers, TFL president and junior economics major. â€œWe had some money left over last year and we were able to purchase the flags over the summer.â€
Ayers also explained why TFL chose to honor victims in this specific way.
â€œThis kind of memorial is actually a national project,â€ Ayers said. â€œItâ€™s a project of Young Americaâ€™s Foundation â€” 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.â€
Ayers hopes to be able to put together a similar memorial next year.
â€œWe are definitely hoping to do this again next year,â€ Ayers said. â€œIâ€™m graduating next year, but hopefully TFL will do this years after that, as well.â€
Ayers said that the memorial received a positive response.
â€œA lot of people have reached out to me and said they liked it. Iâ€™ve gotten messages from a couple people who work for the school,â€ Ayers said. â€œThereâ€™s a video on the schoolâ€™s Facebook page, and Instagram and Twitter now. Iâ€™ve gotten a really positive response from everyone. I think this is a really good way to honor the people who died. Itâ€™s not particularly in-your-face, but itâ€™s also hard to miss.â€
Students passing by the fountain shared their thoughts about the memorial.
â€œI think itâ€™s a good thing to remind all of the students of what today is,â€ said Morgan Block, junior English and geoscience major. â€œIn the midst of the chaos going on around us, with the hurricanes and everything, and politically, itâ€™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.â€
Christiana Ellard, junior urban studies and global public health major, reflected on the importance of the location of the memorial.
â€œI also think itâ€™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, â€˜Wow, we remember what today is,â€™â€ Ellard said. â€œI think itâ€™s just beautiful to be able to take a second and step away from whatâ€™s going on in your life and reflect on the bigger picture.â€
Tina Skeen, first-year biology major, also shared her thoughts.
â€œThe fact that people have continued to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 has symbolized Americaâ€™s ability to unite together as one country,â€ Skeen said. â€œThe 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.â€