NORTHFIELD, Vt. – For the 11th year, members of the Norwich University Political Science Club placed 3,000 flags on the school’s campus in honor of the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“The flag planting has become a major symbolic part of this, the visual is stunning,” said Jason Jagemann, a political science professor at the university. “It’s visceral, you can really see the events through the symbolism of the flags planted.”
Each flag represents a life lost on that tragic day, and a generation of Norwich University students that grew up in the years following the attacks still remember when it happened.
“I live in the D.C. metro area. A lot of mothers and fathers couldn’t get home and some never came home, unfortunately, because some of them worked inside the Pentagon,” said Kurt Kuegler.
“We’ve lived our entire life with war going on because of the events that happened on this day,” said Riley Clark. “Even though we weren’t as impacted when it actually happened, it’s been our entire life we’ve been dealing with the consequences of this day.”
In the 11 years since the school began placing flags on the eve of September 11, students have been reflecting on the significance of each one going into the ground.
“Every time we place one of these flags, it revives their memory,” said Mollie Coltey. “It reminds us of why we’re here, why we do what we do, and it’s a way to give back to our community that does so much for us.”
From midnight on Wednesday until the end of a remembrance ceremony that will take place at 10 pm, seniors in the Corps of Cadets at Norwich University will be marching vigil tours every half hour.
“I’ll be out there at 3 am tonight in my nicest uniform marching across the parade ground,” Clark said. “I’ll think about all of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and all of those who lost their lives as a consequence of that day.”
The remembrance ceremony will be held on the Upper Parade Ground. The campus will be silent in the minutes following the ceremony and the parade ground will remain silent until 11 pm.
Norwich University has invited members of the greater Northfield community to attend, and request that attendees arrive before the ceremony begins to prevent possible interruptions.
Norwich University is the oldest private military college in the United States. Two thirds of residential students are involved in the Corps of Cadets, a four-year leadership model that “instills the values of duty, responsibility and integrity.”