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UofSC veterans groups plant 3,000 flags on campus to honor 9/11 victims

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 9:00 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Saturday will mark 20 years since the tragic September 11th attacks that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people.

Across the Midlands, a number of memorials and remembrance events will be taking place to honor the lives lost that day.

The University of South Carolina Student Veterans Association, in collaboration with other veterans groups, set up a 9/11 memorial display on campus Friday morning and planted nearly 3000 American flags.

Nearly 50 people gathered on Davis Field to pay tribute to the victims. Jodi Symington, president of the University of South Carolina Student Veterans Association, said that is the biggest turnout she’s seen in five years running the event.

Members of the Veterans Alumni Council, Young American for Freedom, ROTC, and other UofSC students came out to plant the flags and observe a moment of silence.

Symington was in high school on 9/11 and remembers the day vividly.

“You could just feel the pall fall over the nation,” she said. “And then it was just incredible the turnout of strangers helping strangers, people just pouring out across the nation.”

She says that tragic day was a launching pad for her wanting to be part of something bigger than herself, and she joined the military two years later. Events like Friday’s draw her back to that idea of service.

“And then to be able to bring at least a sense of that back with people just turning out and showing up to the event and being like, ‘Hey, can we put some flags in?’ You know, it’s incredible to be able to remember all the people that we lost that day.”

The flags are arranged in the shape of the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and the state of Pennsylvania, where the victims died on 9/11.

Lisa Yanity, the chair of the UofSC Veterans Alumni Council, said this memorial display brings a range of emotions for her as well.

“This event set the course of my life in a direction I never knew it would go,” she said.

Yanity was a high school guidance counselor 20 years ago. In the wake of the attacks, she answered the call and served on active duty until her retirement in 2018.

Jeremiah Weaver, a UofSC student and veteran, said reflecting upon the memorial display moved him to realize that those tragic attacks still affect all citizens to this day.

“We cannot forget the lives that were lost, and all the service members that have deployed in the defense of our country,” he said.

Yanity is proud of how the Gamecock family came together for this cause.

“It’s humbling to see all these students who many were not born of were very young when this event happened, it makes me feel that the country is heading in the right direction when I see these young people reaching back and these students from the University of South Carolina hopefully get it, and I’m proud of that.”

The display will remain up over the 9/11 weekend.

UofSC is also hosting a free 9/11 memorial concert this weekend at the Koger Center for the Arts as part of its Mahogany Music Festival. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening.

Tickets can be picked up at the Koger Center box office, or by calling 803-251-222 for will-call.

Visit UofSC’s website for more information on the concert.

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