Hills­dale’s YAF chapter places flags outside of Central Hall every 9/11. Col­legian | Haley Strack

This Sat­urday marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 ter­rorist attacks on our nation. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, are seared into our parents’ and grand­parents’ mem­ories — if asked, any American above the age of 30 could tell you exactly where he or she was when they heard the news that planes had flown into the World Trade Center. 

They remember the footage of Pres­ident George W. Bush receiving the news while reading a picture book to school children in Florida. They remember the president’s bullhorn speech from the rubble of the Twin Towers. They remember proudly flying the stars and stripes from their front porch for the days and weeks that followed.

Our gen­er­ation has none of these memories. 

Twenty years ago, many of us were still sleeping in cribs and drinking from bottles. The freshman and sophomore classes were not even born. 

Every­thing our gen­er­ation knows about 9/11 has come from stories, pho­tographs, and videos. Our emo­tional attachment to the day is much weaker than those old enough to remember the day for themselves. 

Because of this, it would be easy for us to neglect this day and treat it like any other. 

Will we allow 9/11 to become just another date in a history textbook? 

It is up to our gen­er­ation to honor Sept. 11 so that remem­brance of this solemn day lives on. 

We should never forget the 2,977 innocent lives taken by Islamic ter­rorists on 9/11. 

Now, more than ever, with chaos at home and abroad, we must remember who our true enemies are — those who seek to destroy the United States and the values it was founded upon.

In 2003, Young America’s Foun­dation, in con­junction with its chapter affiliate orga­ni­zation, Young Amer­icans for Freedom (YAF), launched its “9/11: Never Forget” project with the goal of placing 2,977 flags on high school and college cam­puses across the country every Sept. 11 in order to honor those who lost their lives.

Since then, YAF chapters have placed more than 12 million flags on their cam­puses — making this project the largest nationwide student activism project. Because of its impor­tance, Hillsdale’s YAF chapter has been a longtime par­tic­ipant in this program.

Please meet at the Hillsdale American Legion at 8 a.m. on Sat­urday to help set up flags for a cer­emony hosted by the first responders in the Hillsdale community. 

The program will begin at 8:46 a.m. in order to mark the time of the first crash into the World Trade Center.

All stu­dents and faculty are welcome to attend and ensure we #nev­er­forget.

David Swegle is a junior George Wash­ington Fellow studying eco­nomics. He serves as sec­retary of Hillsdale’s Young Amer­icans for Freedom chapter.