Members of UTK’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) placed flags on the HSS amphitheater on Wednesday to honor the lives lost on September 11th, 2001.
The non-profit, conservative activism organization organized placing 2,977 flags to pay tribute to the 2,977 people who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including firefighters and first responders.
Soham Paul, the organizer and president of the UTK chapter of YAF and an aerospace engineering major, said that the group is holding the memorial to support the organization’s 9/11 Never Forget project . He said YAF suggested that the UTK chapter support the project and supplied flags for the memorial.
“A lot of people, especially the freshman classes, that come in here were actually born after the 9/11. The 9/11 terrorist attacks slowly disappear and remain as history, and people do not remember it as much as they should, concerning how big of a political effect it had on the whole country. So, this is a way to remember those who were fallen and to not forget their memories,” Paul said.
The secretary of YAF, Ariel Lathan, a sophomore majoring in neuroscience, said that the two lines of flags symbolize the twin towers from 9/11.
“It happened by accident, and we started turning it into two columns so that it could symbolize the Twin buildings and to allow people walking around the flags as well,” says Lathan.
“I knew that I wanted to find a conservative group on campus to join and found YAF at the student engagement fair. I heard about the 9/11 Never Forget project that we do every year since 2014, and I immediately felt that this is exactly what I want to do, and now I never want to stop being involved in it, honestly,” Lathan said.
YAF member Caleb Gray, a business analytics major, discussed the importance of remembering the 2,977 innocent people who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.
“We have to remember there are people who actually willingly gave their lives by running into the towers to save those in danger. When they did that, it didn’t matter about race, ethnicity and gender but all that mattered was the fact that there were lives in dangers to be saved,” Gray said.
You can stay up to date about YAF and the UTK chapter on the YAF website.
A brief interview with YAF’s chapter president and another member is available on the Daily Beacon website.