On the 16th anniversary of 9/11, the country remembers the 2,983 American lives that were lost on that day including firefighters, law enforcement officers and civilians. Since the attacks, many more Americans’ lives were lost from the country’s war on terror. Thousands of American soldiers died fighting for their country, and Bloomsburg University’s Student Veteran Association (BUSVA) as well as the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) displayed a special memorial dedicated to those heroes.
“BUSVA and ROTC held four moments of silence to observe the four times that planes crashed on September 11, 2001. (8:46 am, 9:03 am, 9:37am, 10:07 am) These moments of silence were held for individuals to pay their respects and reflect on the loss that occurred on and after 9/11/01,” said Matthew Haberle, former president of the BUSVA.
There was about 7,000 American flags displayed on the Academic Quad where students and faculty members stopped and stood to look at the view while many took photos.
“The flags were placed on the quad by BUSVA, Air Force ROTC, ROTC and staff members. We also had a number of people who were passing by as we set them up who stopped to help. It took about six hours for the entire set up to be completed,” said Haberle.
BUSVA saw the significance in having a memorial on campus and tried many years to make it happen. With the help from an anonymous donor, the organization was able to follow through with their goal.
“The original idea to place flags on the quad to represent each of the service members that have died since 9/11/01 was from Hakeem Thomas when he was the BUSVA President in 2015,” said Haberle. “During that year Bloomsburg University denied BUSVA the ability to place the flags on the quad, instead Hakeem partnered with the center for diversity and inclusion to hold a 9/11 memorial in the Kehr. Last year as President I replied to hold the event on the quad. It was approved, however we no longer had the funds or resources to provide all the flags needed. BUSVA was able to place 700 flags on the quad. This year BUSVA purchased half of the flags and had an anonymous donor donate $1,415 for the other half of the flags.”BUSVA believes that the university needs to have a memorial every year to remember the fallen.
“As an organization we felt that having a 9/11 memorial was important for a couple reasons,” said Haberle. “First, Bloomsburg University had no memorial for 9/11 and 9/11 was a life changing event for everyone across the world. There is also less and less news coverage on the wars and conflict that is still going on following 9/11 and we feel it is important to recognize the 6,940 service members who have paid the ultimate price since 9/11”Not only does the organization want people to remember the lives that were lost during the attacks and the war that followed after it, but also the lives that are still currently being lost now.
“The message that BUSVA wanted to visualize through the memorial to students and staff is that 9/11 affected real people that is why we place the names of each victim of 9/11 on the memorial,” said Haberle.“We also wanted to visualize the cost that 9/11 has had and continues to have on our country. This year there were 6,940 flags to represent fallen service members, next year there will probably be more. We also wanted the memorial to allow student and staff to be able to reflect on those lost.”
Nearly 7,000 flags were placed on the Academic Quad on 9/11. Each flag represented an arm service member that died either on or after the attacks. The set up took about six hours to complete.