Each of the 2,977 mini flags set up near the flagpoles just south of the Taggart Student Center at Utah State University on Tuesday represented a person.
Tuesday marked the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and this was the way the USU College Republicans decided to pay tribute to those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and those on board United Airlines flight 93, which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
Included in that startling statistic are members or former members of the Cache Valley community.
This form of tribute is not unique to USU; cities around the country put up the mini flags each time the anniversary comes around.
Now 11 years later, Casey Saxton, president of the USU College Republicans, remembers the moment he initially heard about the attacks as a student at Bear Lake Middle School in Idaho. The radio reports on the way to school provided details, but when he got to school, he witnessed the plane slam into the second tower on live television.
“Because there were 2,977 victims, to a lot of people, it just seems like a number,” Saxton said. “But when they see an object to go with that number, it brings reality to you.”
Saxton cited Wikipedia as the group’s primary source for its decision to place 2,977 flags — except they subtracted the 19 terrorists who died that were included in the total.
Also, the flags were placed in the area of the TSC this time, as opposed to the Quad for the tenth anniversary, because placing the flags in a more confined area of campus gives a greater meaning to the memorial.
“It’s such a national tragedy,” Saxton said. “Even 11 years after ... it’s important to honor the victims and their families.”