Fallen heroes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 12, 2009

Three thousand American flags fluttering from their posts on the Bibb Graves Quad at Troy University Friday, served as a somber reminder that 3,000 Americans lost their lives in terrorist attacks on America’s homeland on Sept. 11, 2001.

The memorial flags were placed by the College Republicans at Troy University. The organization also conducted a memorial program honoring those who died on Sept. 11 eight years ago and honoring America.

“During a time of great division in our country, it’s good for us to put aside those differences and come together and be Americans,” said Brennan Ellis, College Republicans chair. “We come unified regardless of our differences to remember those whose lives were lost. It’s good for us to honor them.”

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Although the crowd was smaller than the gathering last Sept. 11, Robin Lyle, College Republicans executive director, said she was pleased.

“Being noon time and Friday, we realized that the crowd might be small,” she said. “But, if we only had one or two people here, we would have not been disappointed.

Troy Taylor, organization vice chair, said the service was planned as a low-key event.

“We wanted to be able to come together to remember because we must never forget what happened on that day,” Taylor said. “I think about it almost every day. We should never take our freedoms for granted. And, we must remain strong as a nation. We must persevere.”

Ellis said it is important to remember that we live in the greatest country in the world and Americans must stand up and support the ideals on which this country was founded.

The guest speaker for the College Republicans 9/11 Remembrance Service was State Sen. Hank Irwin, District 14.

Irwin said every generation has a day that is monumental in its history – a day that changes lives.

“For us, it is Sept. 11, 2001,” he said. “That was not just another day. It was the day that our country came to a standstill and our country was changed forever.”

Irwin brought remembrance to the 3,000 who lost their lives. He also reminded the gathering that more than 6,000 people were injured in the attacks on America.

“As I look out and see all of these flags, I am reminded that each flag represents a person who had hopes and dreams and a family and friends. Real people and we must never forget what they lost. And, we cannot forget, too, that there are those who don’t like us and are determined to see us close a chapter in our country’s life and turn ourselves over to a regime that does not share the same ideals and values that we do.”

Irwin, who is a graduate of Troy University, said he remembers well Sept. 11, 2002 when the students at the university held a spontaneous prayer service that was perhaps the largest of its kind for any university.

“Students held hands and prayed for our nation and asked God’s wisdom and guidance,” Irwin said. “We now ask God to watch over us and show us a better way. And, we, as a nation, should rededicate ourselves to the ideals that made us Americans.”