Friday morning, 2,977 miniature American flags were placed on the South Oval by Ohio State students to remember and honor every life lost in the terrorist attacks 14 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001.
The OSU College Republicans hosted the memorial with help from Buckeyes for Israel and Imp(act).
Diana Gandiello, a fourth-year in communication, started Imp(act) at OSU, which is an organization dedicated to donating money to those who lost loved ones on 9/11.
Gandiello is from New York City, and her father was the captain of an FDNY rescue unit on the day of the terrorist attacks. She was glad to see students reflecting on the lives lost on that day as many stopped to help place flags on the South Oval.
“In years past, it hasn’t been honored like this. People walked around like it was any other day,” she said.
While placing flags on the Oval, Morgan Shafley, the tribune for the College Republicans and a third-year in animal sciences, talked to The Lantern about the impact of the terrorist attacks.
“It was an attack on our soil which was life changing,” she said. “We are extremely privileged to not have to worry as we walk around about a bomb going off; so many people in the world do have to worry about that.”
Ohio Senator Frank LaRose, who is a decorated Army veteran who served in the U.S. Special Forces, joined students on the South Oval for the memorial ceremony where he offered a few words of wisdom.
He told students to make sure younger generations know what happened and never forget.
“In a few years the students at Ohio State will not have been alive during 9/11,” LaRose said. “Humanity can’t forget that this kind of thing can happen. We can’t forget that this happened.”
He reminisced about feeling a great unity as a nation right after the terrorist attacks.
“We fight, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, but ultimately we are one American family,” LaRose said. “There are some bigger things that we all agree on that are much more important than what party you are from or what political ideology you have. The sense of what it means to be American is so much greater than that.”
At the ceremony, Kylie Evgenides, a third-year in dental hygiene, sang the national anthem and Matt Urbanek, a fifth-year in music education and trumpet performance, played “Taps” to honor the memory of 9/11 victims.
Tomer Elias, a member of Buckeyes for Israel and a fourth-year in economics, was in Israel on Sept. 11, 2001. His father is Israeli and his mother is from New York City.
“I remember everyone in Israel being in complete shock that such a horrific attack had occurred. It was as if the attack had happened in Israel. We shared the pain, someone close to us was suffering,” he said.
He remembers the entire week that followed; all the regular programming on TV was changed to full coverage of the terrorist attacks and the aftermath of the tragedy.
This was the College Republicans’ first year placing 2,977 miniature American flags on campus, one for every life lost that day, and Chairman David Stanislav said he hopes that this memorial will become an annual tradition at OSU.