UK ROTC cadets remember 9/11 victims

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On this 20th anniversary of 9/11, we all remember the deadliest terror attack on US soil.

Cities across the nation are holding services in honor of nearly 3,000 lives lost, and Lexington is no different.

Two decades ago on the morning of September 11, 2001, the USA woke up to a beautiful day, according to UK department chair and professor of military science Steve Schmidt. But it was a day soon to bring terror.

“The first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center and life as we knew it changed forever,” said Schmidt. “The rest of the day and countless days after brought stories of great tragedy and loss, yet also stories of great heroics.”

On September 11, 2021, UK cadets placed 2,977 flags on the lawn in front of the campus’s main building – a flag to represent and honor every life lost. Students who were too young to remember the attacks, but still will never forget.

“Most of us were born within the 1999 to 2001 timeline,” said company commander of UK’s Pershing Rifles chapter Zach St. Hilaire. “We were alive, but we don’t have a recollection of the event, so we live through the memories and the stories that adults tell us.”

St. Hilarie said cadets were outside at 4:45 am, using flashlights to ensure each flag was perfectly positioned.

“With current events and everything going on in our world, it’s good to know we had everyone just come together and remember the lives lost and realize we’re all American citizens, and we’re all fighting for the same thing,” St. Hilaire says.

Now, 20 years later, Schmidt hopes we can come together again.

“If we can remember what it was like to unite as a country, to come together in support of one another bonded together as Americans, to remember that if we function together as a collective whole much better than 328 million individuals, that we can love one another, honor our contributions to this great nation, and live with courage as we did on September 12, 2001,” Schmidt said.

Our country’s leaders proclaim September 11 as “Patriot Day.” The national day of mourning was introduced in the House in October of 2001.

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