The sun shines over thousands of American flags arranged on the lawn in front of Ezra Lehman Memorial Library.
Students pass on their way to and from class as usual, but many stop and write messages of praise, prayer, blessing, thanks and love for the fallen troops in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that each flag represents.
According to Associate Dean of Students Bob Smith, the SU Student Veterans of America (SVA) organized the arrangement of the flags and the ceremony happening today; the anniversary of 9/11. The ceremony will proceed in front of the library from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and in that time the names of all the fallen troops will be read by various members of the campus community.
SU ROTC students will be reading many of the names along with President William Ruud. The ceremony is a tribute to current and fallen troops, fire fighters, paramedics, EMTs and those who lost loved ones, according to Brian Palmer, president of SVA.
The flags wave in a gentle breeze, but they all represent a mighty force — the men and women of the U. S. military.
Palmer said this is to be a day of memorial, not of the tradgedy, but of the unity our nation felt following the attacks.
Many current SU students were in elementary or middle school when the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 occurred just 11 years ago, but most remember what that day felt like.
Presently, America remains strong but still feels the consequences of 9/11 from ongoing wars and increasing casualties and wounded soldiers.
Barack Obama has promised 23,000 more troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of this month, and a steady, but slow, total withdrawal from Afghanistan to follow. On Dec. 18, 2011, the last U.S. troops left Iraq.
Eleven years later, terrorist groups have weakened, but maintain influence in some parts of the Middle East and northern Africa. Al-Qaeda has been significantly weakened especially since the U.S. operation that killed Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011.
Today, on the anniversary of the attacks, Americans take a moment to ignore the things that regularly divide us and remember our troops and that our nation has remained strong through some dark times.
The dark times have passed and the sun still shines over the field of American flags.