WU student organizations join forces to commemorate 9/11

Paying tribute: Student organizations come together to create a memorial for 9/11. The Washburn University College Republicans, College Democrats and Young Americans for Liberty set up 2,977 flags in memory of each of the individuals who lost their lives from 9/11. 

The tragedy that occurred on 9/11 remains in the back of many Americans memories as the years continue. Some members of the community remember the event vividly, while others recall only pieces of the event. 

The Washburn University College Republicans, College Democrats and Young Americans for Liberty partnered together to create a memorial in tribute to 9/11. The students and members of the Washburn community held a moment of silence at 9:11 a.m. in Carole Chapel. 

Charlee Bonczkowski, president of Washburn University College Republicans, said the College Republicans chapter reached out to the other student political parties on campus to plan a memorial that would have an impact on the Washburn community. 

“We all felt like we need to put together something on campus just so students don’t forget,” said Bonczkowski. “Many of the freshman on campus may not have been around when 9/11 happened, so we want to make sure that they don’t forget that it happened.” 

 Bonczkowski said a generous donor paid for the 2,977 miniature American flags that were placed in the lawn outside the Memorial Union, symbolizing each of the individuals who lost their lives in the events from 9/11. 

“As we were planning, I thought it would be great to have the Democrat and Libertarian groups on campus join us and partner with us,” Bonczkowski said. “Last night [Sept. 10] we were out until midnight putting up the flags.” 

The memorial had community members stopping in appreciation of the tribute to the victims who lost their lives. 

As members of the Washburn community remember the event, they each have a different experience about where they were and what they were doing at the moment 9/11 occurred. 

Frank Brentine, auditor who takes mostly world religion courses, reflected on the event.

“That day, I was out at St. Mary’s playing golf. Somehow I heard in the clubhouse that a plane ran into a building. I thought it was just an accident,” Brentine said. “After I got home, the second plane hit. I had no idea why they would do such a thing. That was haunting.”

Brentine said he grew up in Jersey City, N.J., about 200 yards from the Statue of Liberty. 

“About two weeks after it happened, you could still see the smoke coming from the building,” Brentine said. 

As some members of the Washburn community reflect on the event, others were not born to experience the event.

Freshman criminal justice major Elijah James said that he doesn’t recall the event but he remembers people talking to him about it. 

“I remember hearing that places were blown up and people lost their lives,” James said. “It’s really sad that so many people lost their lives in a tragic attack.” 

Darria Dennison, senior dual mass media and theatre major, said she was in kindergarten and remembers bits and pieces of the event.

“I think 9/11 is a time to think and reflect on a lot of the things that are going on today, and a way to think forward as well,” Dennison said. “I knew that today was 9/11, but I think it really hit home when I saw the flags.”