Arriving on campus this morning, I was greeted by almost three thousand little American flags clustered around the half-staff flag in remembrance of the tragedy twelve years ago. I joined many students last night in planting those little flags for all to see this morning.
Instead of writing my own description about the significance of the flags, I will share what a fellow college friend wrote last night as it echos my own sentiments about the memorial exactly:
I joined in a long campus tradition with a number of other students tonight, planting small American flags around our campus flagpole in honor and memory of those who lost their lives in that awful, awful tragedy those many years ago. One flag for each life lost.
It was a lot harder to stick those flags into the ground than you’d think, and near the end, our hands were getting pretty sore. But each of those flags represented someone’s life… and I imagined what it would have been like, how my hands would have felt to bury each of those people with a shovel in my hands instead of a miniature flag. Sore thumbs pale and wither away compared to that.
As I imagine college students will in any setting, we laughed and joked around as we set up those flags. But at the end, we looked at our handiwork — nearly 3000 flags clustered together in a circle of a few yards diameter — and we prayed. We prayed for the families who lost beloved ones, the still grieving, the heroes who risked their lives that day, and the men and women who still do it daily. And we prayed that God would enable us to remember their pain and sacrifice, to be His vessels of comfort to them with every opportunity.
It’s so easy to distance myself from what happened then… I barely remember that day. All the same, may I never forget the pain and sorrow of others who felt its effects and still do. And even though I don’t know WHY God allowed it to happen, I remember that we still live in a fallen, fallen world… and that He still reigns in the highest.
“This is my Father’s world
Oh let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the Ruler yet”
– Tim Hsu
May we never forget.