Flag memorial commemorates 9/11 victims

Leslie Zhang

Three thousand flags lined the South Mall on Wednesday to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

Since 2002, the Young Conservatives of Texas has set up the memorial, a rectangular display of three thousand flags. All but four represent victims of the 2001 attack — those four flags were added to remember the deaths of U.S. citizens during the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. 

YCT Chairman Lorenzo Garcia said the goal of the memorial display is to honor the victims and heroes that gave up their lives during the attacks.

“We’re going to do everything we can to honor everyone we lost that day,” Garcia said. “It’s about educating people, especially the younger folks, about why we’re putting this on. [It’s] about memorializing the people who have fallen.”

Since the attacks, mechanical engineering freshman Emily Hood said she has started to understand more of the social and political consequences of the attacks.

“It took me a long time to understand the gravity of the situation,“ Hood said.

Garcia said there were several reasons why YCT chose to incorporate the four victims of the Benghazi attack in its annual memorial. The attack occurred on Sept. 11, 2012, and was the first time an ambassador had been assassinated since the 1970s.

“They were representing our interest overseas,” Garcia said. “They were victims and they were heroes. That’s why we included them.”

Garcia said the set-up process often takes about an hour or two on the night of Sept. 10. This year, about 35 people helped to set up the flag memorial. They used strings to make sure the flags were correctly aligned in the 100-row, 30-column flag memorial.

Undeclared freshman Kristen Horoho was in New Jersey during the 2001 attack and said the memorial reflected the unity the country experienced in light of the tragedy.

“The work [represents] a combination of the worst part of our country and one of the times our country stood together,” Horoho said.

Neurobiology senior Ingrid Gropp said honoring those who died during Sept. 11 does not need to be a painful experience every year.

“I think America, as a whole, should remember it,“ Gropp said, “I don’t think every year, when it comes about, it needs to be a sorrowful, painful thing to remember.“