To mark the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Military Student Services — partnered with the Student Veterans Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars — will conduct a wreath-laying ceremony on campus.
The ceremony will take place at the flagpoles in front of Harris Hall and is set to begin at 8:46 a.m., marking the exact time when the first hijacked plane struck the World Trade Center in New York.
The 2001 attack claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 civilians and first responders in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. It marked the beginning of the ongoing war on terror, and has a significant impact on the lives of U.S. military personnel and their families.
“I think it’s simple really, the wounds of 9/11 still run deep for some people and we would be remiss to not honor the losses of that day,” said Michael Scott, a VCU student and U.S. Army veteran.
The wreath-laying ceremony is a new idea for 9/11 memorials this year — in previous years, the ceremony consisted of a moment of silence and the sharing of personal stories between those affected by attacks. This year, according to event organizers, the goal was to expand on that format and do something with more meaning.
“Military Student Services has partnered with the VFW, who came up with the idea of laying a wreath as a way to recognize and honor the losses that occurred and the changes in people’s lives,” said Stephen Ross, director of Military Student Services. “And we will recognize the efforts and commitments that people have made since 9/11.”
Located in Harris Hall on the third floor, Military Student Services provides guidance and assistance to VCU’s veteran community and has been the base of operations for the Student Veterans Association. For some veteran students, 9/11 was their main catalyst for deciding to serve in the armed forces.
“Whenever I look back on Sept. 11, I think of the quote ‘the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,’” said Phillip Gandhi, president of the Student Veterans Association and a U.S. Air Force veteran. “The American people refused to do nothing. It’s not just about remembering all of those we lost, it’s also about honoring all of those who rose up and did something.”
For more information on Military Student Services or participating with upcoming events, students can visit the office on the third floor of Harris Hall or contact them at [email protected]