To honor those who have served and sacrificed for their country, the Student Veterans of America (SVA) on campus placed American flags in the quad in front of Lehman Library.
This Shippensburg University tradition reminds the campus community of the events of Sept.11, 2001. The new design pays respect to the three tragedies that occurred 13 years ago this Thursday. Rather than the folded flag formation of past years, the World Trade Center towers, Pentagon, and “93” for Flight 93 honor the fallen at each of those sites. There are roughly 6,500 flags in this year’s display.
The Student Veterans of America organizes the display each year to support those who served and to remember those who died.
Chris Littlejohn, the SVA public relations officer, explained the importance of showing respect for the sacrifices people made in order to protect and serve the country.
“We want to honor those who gave their lives on 9/11 and since then, but also keep the many service members’ needs and ongoing struggles in mind,” Littlejohn said. There will be a memorial service held at 9:11 a.m. in the quad on Thursday, coordinated by the SVA.
The SVA is a group, as Littlejohn says, “Not just an organization of veterans for veterans, but of all people for veterans.” He stressed that anyone can join the group, and that the SVA has members from all walks of life and a diversity of experiences. Many different branches of the military are represented by SVA members, and many non-traditional students as well.
The student group’s website says under the mission heading, “To enhance the educational experience of veterans in higher education by empowering and supporting student veteran groups at Shippensburg University.” The Wounded Warriors Project is the philanthropy that will receive the funds raised from the 9/11 display.
The SVA also provides a variety of other services for student veterans, shown in their motto “Ensuring the Heroes of Yesterday are the Future Leaders of Tomorrow.”
SU has a record of treating veterans well and was selected as a top veteran-friendly school by U.S. Veterans Magazine in September 2013.
“At Ship, we have looked at ways to better deliver our academic programming to veterans, we continue to review our support services for them and we have a veterans resource center in our student union. Ship will continue to help the veterans to whom we owe so much,” interim President George “Jody” Harpster said in a university press release.
Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes and used them to attack buildings on the morning of 9/11, leaving nearly 3,000 dead. The tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001, are honored in Manhattan by the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The museum was opened this May amidst controversy regarding unidentified remains, relations to Arab-Americans and high ticket costs.