This past weekend was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I am sure all of you can remember where you were on that day. I was sitting in the bottom of Dempster Hall in some class in the computer lab. As we got out of class you could snippets of conversation and I heard one person say a plane hit the World Trade Center. The way they said it made it sound like some sort of accident or the plane had just clipped the building. By the time I made my way to my next class it was all anyone was talking about. The second tower had fallen and everyone was in shock and sort of numb. I am pretty certain I didn’t absorb any learning that day.
I remember feeling so helpless as we huddled around the TV and watched the constant footage of the destruction and the death. I wanted to find everyone I cared about and hug them and never let them go. Each year on the anniversary I have always said a prayer for those that lost their loves, their families and for all the first responders across the country and overseas but I never took part in any kind of memorial.
A friend of mine posted a link online about a 9/11 service project that was happening in St. Louis. I signed up right away not even hesitating a little about who would go with me. The project I signed up for was putting flags to commentate those lost on 9/11. This project, to display a flag on Art Hill in Forest Park for each of the lives lost in the Sept. 11 attacks, was thought up by an ordinary non military man that wanted to do more – and thought he could do this alone out of his garage. He soon found out that assembling and installing 3,000 flags was not something he could do on his own. He put out the call for help and he was able to get many companies as well has family and friends involved in assembling them and donating materials. The installing of the flags became part of the United Way’s National Day of Service for 9/11.
My mom joined me on Saturday 9/10 to put up the flags in preparation for the 9/11 memorial actives in the park. We both thought this flag installation project was putting a small American flag in the ground like the one people often stick in their yards or have at parades.
Well were a little off. The flags were taller than us and you had to first hammer a piece of rebar into the ground then put the flag over the rebar and stick it in the ground. Once in the ground the flags fly about 9 1/2 feet high. Luckily we were able to work as a team – and had help from one of the many fireman who were there. Many first responders (police, fire, EMT) were on hand helping to put up the flags – there were 3,000 to put up. On hand were more than 100 firefighters and police officers and another 150 civilian volunteers
Most of the flags were tagged with the name of a person killed in the attacks and where they were during the attack i.e WTC, Flight 93. Both my mom and I found it coincidental that the row flags we put up were all starting with Cor (which means if there would have been a Corkery we would have put that flag up- luckily there wasn’t). You can read further details about the man behind this project at http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/article_97ab94f0-6a52-5361-8d81-a2108eb24097.html
This experience was exhilarating, humbling, and sad all at the same time. As my mom and I worked together to hammer rebar into the ground and put up the American flag I felt apart of something bigger. I know that I can’t bring back all those that lost their lives but I can honor them and make sure they are never forgotten. I am so glad I stepped up to do this and that I had my mom right there by my side. After we were done and we looked out over all 3,000 flags, it took your breathe away especially when the wind blew and the flags blew in a rippling effect. It truly made me proud to be an American. I will never forget 9/11 and I pray that all those suffering from a loss of a loved one or suffering from injuries sustained that day will find peace.
|The finished field|
|Mom and me in front of the flags. I was glad she was there to experience this with me!|
This is the halfway point of the list! 25 more to go. I found it fitting that something so powerful would mark this milestone. Onto number 24………………………….