American flags dotted the grass in University Yard on Thursday like a field of flowers, memorializing the lives lost on Sept. 11 seven years ago.
The span of 2,977 flags, each representing a victim of the attacks, was arranged by the GW chapter of Young America’s Foundation, one of several campus organizations that observed the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The day culminated in a candlelight vigil that evening, during which students and members of the GW community gathered to reflect.
“It’s been seven years and we don’t want people to begin to feel apathetic,” said sophomore Sam Bain, GW YAF’s director of membership.
Members of YAF began setting up the elaborate memorial in University Yard at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday morning. The group manned a table in University Yard during the afternoon, distributing literature and pins commemorating the day. The flags, which remained in place for the duration of the day and through the evening candlelight vigil, were a visual reminder of the Sept. 11 attacks.
‘We’re not here to promote our organization,” Bain said. “We just want people to know who we are. This is a memorial. We are remembering 9/11.”
University students and staff gathered at 8 p.m. in University Yard to reflect on the significance of Sept. 11. The evening vigil was coordinated by the University and several student organizations, including the Student Association.
“I’ve come to this vigil all three of my years here at GW,” said junior Courtney Goldberg. “I think the SA does a nice job with it.”
In addition to a moment of silence, Daniel Kaniewski, a GW alumnus and former special assistant to the president for homeland security, spoke to the crowd.
“Students are very respectful at this event which I think is important,” sophomore Jamie Chu said. “It’s nice to see everyone work together to hold this service.”
Nearly twelve hours prior to the vigil, at 8:46 a.m., the bells tolled on both the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses for one minute. The timing coincided with the moment that the North Tower of the World Trade Center was struck by American Airlines Flight 11 seven years ago.
-Georgia Bobley contributed to this report.