Student groups collect donations, host flag memorial for 16th anniversary of 9/11

Funds collected will go to charities such as Tuesday’s Children, Wounded Warrior’s Project

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The flags were displayed on the South Lawn.

Courtesy Laura Pierce | Cavalier Daily

The South Lawn was decorated with dozens of American flags on Monday to commemorate the 16th anniversary of 9/11. Students stopped and paused throughout the day to reflect on the lives lost on that day in the north and south towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pa.  

Several student organizations organized this event to both remember the loss of life and raise money for groups impacted by the violence on that day. 

Young Americans for Freedom hosts the event annually and partnered with others including the College Republicans, Network of Enlightened Women, Turning Point USA and the Burke Society. 

YAF President Kevin McMahon, a third-year College student, said this event is held across the country by different YAF chapters and is a good way to reflect on the events of 9/11. 

“The idea of the event is that we set out flags, and the flags are a reminder of every single life lost during 9/11,” McMahon said. “We will have events where we are pushing a political agenda, but this is not one of them. This is really about reflecting on the lives that were lost and reflecting on terrorism.”

College Republicans President and third-year College student Adam Kimelman said the fundraising effort is a new feature this year, but that the College Republicans wanted to find a way to give back by donating to the New York Fire and Police Department, Tuesday’s Children and the Wounded Warriors Project. Students could choose which group of the three they wanted their donations to go towards. 

“[The College Republicans] this year played a logistical role, like reserving the lawn, and we did some other things like fundraising for three different charities,” Kimelman said. “One is for people who were affected by 9/11 as children, for veterans for the Iraq and Afghanistan war, and for the New York Fire and Police Department, and we also bought a snap filter for the lawn at 11:00.”

Fourth-year Architecture student Courtney Sigloh, who stopped at the memorial, said she is glad to see 9/11 is being commemorated, especially since students entering U.Va. are less and less likely to remember the attack. 

“I think [this event is] important because first years were two or three when 9/11 occurred. I don’t think the scale has to be big in order for it to have a big impact,” Sigloh said. “Looking at the flags here, that makes a statement that you can't miss when you’re walking on the Lawn.”

McMahon said he hoped the event inspired the best kind of patriotism in students when they saw the flags on display. 

“I want it to instill a sense of patriotism and pride in people,” McMahon said. “I think it’s important to make an extraordinary distinction between what is good pride and what is white nationalism and the ‘alt-right,’ so we are making an incredibly important distinction between that kind of ideology and the ideology of YAF and other college conservatives.”

Daniel Durgavich, a third-year College student and president of the Burke Society, said having a 9/11 memorial is important because it reminds Americans of the importance of the country’s values. 

“The impact we’ve always wanted is a remembrance that this is the largest attack on U.S. soil since the War of 1812, and it was a senseless act of violence committed by people who oppose the values this country holds, ideals that shouldn’t only run on one side of the aisle or another,” Durgavich said. “We’ve always just hoped for a remembrance of the loss of lives, so that we can remember that the ideals that we hold are not universally held and something we have to fight for as the centerpiece of our nation.”

Correction: This article previously misspelled Kevin McMahon's last name as "McMahone." This article has been updated with the correct spelling. 

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