Young Americans for Freedom, a student organization at UT that’s a part of the Young America’s Foundation, participated in the 9/11: Never Forget Project by placing American flags beside the Humanities building and Amphitheater for people to view and remember as they walk by.
YAF-UTK invited the community to join them Sept. 10 at 11 p.m. to place 2,977 flags, each representing one life lost 13 years ago, and members handed out project pins to anyone passing by September 11 from 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
While the Young America’s Foundation started this project in 2003, this is the first year UT has participated. Michael Hensley, YAF-UTK Chairman, said he wanted to participate in this project to show students the significance of the date.
“It’s hard to realize exactly how many people lost their lives on that day until you can put it into perspective,” said Hensley.
Lindy Yang, a junior and member of YAF-UTK, said it’s really important to remember because it’s a day that struck our nation badly.
“The memorial represents that we do care and that we do remember,” she said.
Furthermore, Yang said many people came up to their table and said how proud they were that UT was finally paying tribute with one person tearing up after seeing the flags.
Hensley said more universities should participate in 9/11 memorials because it’s something that happened in our lifetime, but the reason most universities don’t is because college students nationwide are apathetic.
“Freedom is not free, and it’s something that has to be fought for and protected,” he said.
“We don’t grasp the concept of how lucky we are to live in this country and how thankful we should be for the men and women who serve,” Yang said.
Even though this is YAF-UTK’s first semester and event, Hensley didn’t want to promote the organization during the event because he didn’t want to take anything away from the memorial.
“We’re not trying to capitalize off of this whatsoever,” said Hensley.
For more information on YAF-UTK, visit their Facebook page or Twitter, @yafutk.
Edited by Maggie Jones