At noon on Wednesday, stu­dents gathered in front of Mossey Library to honor the victims of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Young Amer­icans for Freedom Sec­retary Arielle Muller remarked on the events of that morning, fol­lowed by a prayer offered by Hillsdale College Chaplain Peter Beckwith remem­bering the pas­sengers, the first responders, and the fam­ilies of all affected. Taps echoed across campus to con­clude the cer­emony.

The memorial was notably shorter than it has been in the past.

“In pre­vious years, it some­times has become overly politi­cized and more about the cer­emony rather than the actual victims,” said Sam Holdeman, trustee for the College Repub­licans. “The goal this year is to remember the victims of 9/11.”

The former political cer­emony was replaced with a simple com­mem­o­ration.

“A lot of us were very young when the 9/11 attacks occurred,” Holdeman said. “It’s really defined us as a gen­er­ation. Our life, and our country, our social culture, our fabric. Remem­bering those victims and what they gave is very, very important.”

This year’s memorial fea­tured a display of hun­dreds of American flags-visual rep­re­sen­ta­tions of each death. In addition to the 2,977 flags hon­oring the 2001 victims, four larger flags rep­re­sented the deaths in the American con­sulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.

The event, a coop­er­ative effort of Hills­dale’s chapter of Young Amer­icans for Freedom and College Repub­licans, was the 11th annual memorial ini­tiative held at Hillsdale.

His­tor­i­cally, the College Repub­licans orga­nized the event. After a YAF chapter was started on campus last year, a new idea was brought to the table: a visual memorial to honor each victim, based on YAF’s nationwide “9/11 Never Forget” project.

“What the event orig­i­nally entailed, which Hillsdale has never done, is 2,977 American flags to remember each indi­vidual who died on 9/11,” said Nathan Brand, pres­ident of the campus YAF chapter. “Its a really neat visual memorial because each one rep­re­sents a human life.”

The “Never Forget” project was first intro­duced on the national scene in 2003, just before the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“[9/11] had a huge impact on American life and public policy,” Coyle said. “We thought this was the best way to show stu­dents the lives that were lost.”

This year, close to 200 high school and college student orga­ni­za­tions par­tic­i­pated in the YAF “Never Forget” event nationwide.

“It’s recent history, but a lot of us were still young when it hap­pened,” Brand said. “I was in third grade. I went late to school that day, I was staying at home watching the news with my parents. Every­body’s got a story of where they were on 9/11. This is a great oppor­tunity to reflect and give kids kind-of a visual reminder of what hap­pened and how many American lives were lost.”