Young America’s Foundation’s 9/11 display provides a moment to reflect

Sarah Blugis, a junior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.

The Young America’s Foundation probably isn’t every student’s favorite student organization on campus.

GW’s leading conservative group has caused plenty of controversy in the past. In 2011, its affirmative action-themed bake sale prompted criticism from multicultural student groups. And last spring, YAF members demanded that administrators condemn GW’s “atmosphere of intolerance” after their anti-abortion display in Kogan Plaza was vandalized.

When the organization claimed that the redistribution of grades was similar to the redistribution of wealth last November, I argued – and still would argue – that theatrics undermine the group’s messages. Often, students don’t take the time to consider YAF’s point of view because the organization’s antics are easy to laugh off.

But once a year, the group puts on one display that isn’t meant to be inflammatory. On the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, members of YAF wake up early in the morning to place miniature flags throughout Kogan Plaza and commemorate the lives of those lost thirteen years ago.

When I see the flags lining the grass, I’m moved by the group’s dedication. It’s heartening that YAF is committed to reminding everyone on campus to take a moment out of his or her day to remember, reflect and maybe even pray.

YAF’s 9/11 Never Forget Project is non-partisan and non-political. Though I may scoff at the conservative organization’s displays for the rest of the year, what it does on this day is important. The flags serve as a reminder that even in such sharply divided times, partisan lines can still be crossed.

On the anniversary of 9/11, and on the country’s most politically active campus, we should set aside our partisan differences to thank the YAF.

We have 364 days in the rest of the year to fight about political and social issues. But today, I encourage you to take a detour through Kogan and reflect, even if only for a few seconds. We can go back to arguing tomorrow.

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