Go Forward to Defend Freedom: 9/11 Vigil
Sunday marked fifteen years since the devastating terrorist attacks that killed thousands of people in New York City, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.
To honor those who lost their lives during the 2001 attacks, the Air Force and Army ROTC battalions of BYU and UVU are keeping vigil by the American flag in the quad north of the Harold B. Lee Library on Monday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A commemoration at 10 a.m. included a wreath-laying ceremony with representatives from the Army, Air Force, Provo Police Department, and Provo Fire Department. Ryan Vogel, UVU Director of National Security Studies, encouraged listeners to remember and reflect on the events of 9/11.
Approximately one hundred participants at the ceremony placed small American flags in the grass near the flagpole in a united effort of remembrance and rededication to country and freedom.
“When they receive the flag and walk the flag to the library lawn, we hope they remember why they love this country and freedom,” says event coordinator Cadet Mitchell Riley.
Two cadets, one representing the Army ROTC and the other the Air Force ROTC, keep vigil by the American flag near the HBLL.
Cadet Riley signed up as a civilian participant to stand vigil in 2013. “It was just me and the flag. . . . I felt a great yearning and desire to do something.” Now a senior in the Air Force ROTC program at UVU, Riley will receive his commission in April. “My everyday objective is to defeat terrorism and ensure peace,” he says.
Colonel Tom Hogan of the BYU Air Force ROTC salutes at the event; Hogan was on active duty at Nellis Air Force Base on September 11, 2001, and remains on active duty today. He says, “It was like watching a horror movie; it was scary.” Hogan also says the attack was “a catalyst for cohesion; it united us as a nation.” Commemorating the event inspires him to “continue to serve and to pass the baton to the next generation of our nation’s defenders.”
Officer C. Autry of the Provo Police force lays a rose in honor of one of the four planes hijacked on September 11, 2001.
The Air Force ROTC Honor Guard, led by Cadet Samantha “Sami” Baker, fires as trumpeters play “Taps” to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.
Keynote speaker Ryan Vogel, Founder and Director of National Security Studies at UVU, urges vigil attendees “to remember our values as Americans and rededicate ourselves to serving our country.”
Spectators and ROTC personnel place small American flags in the grass above the Harold B. Lee Library.
“Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.”
—George W. Bush, September 11, 2001