Alright, so today the College Republicans at Central Michigan University held our annual September 11th memorial, where we put out 2,998 flags on the lawn next to our library. I’ll go ahead and put those pictures below, and talk about what all happened today after the pictures:
So, anyway, I had stayed up all through the night (English paper), headed over to set up at 5:45 A.M. EDT. We started setting up at 6:00, and finished by 7:15, then had some Timbits and coffee. I went back to my dorm, grabbed my backpack and headed to Calculus II. My professor kinda made me angry in not observing the campus-wide moment of silence at 8:46 A.M.
After Calc II, I headed back over to watch the flags (it’s sad, but we actually need people to watch them to make sure they don’t get kicked over – it happened last year). It was pretty uneventful until about noon, then 2 preachers who’ve been on campus all week showed up, and they were preaching stuff like, “Catholics are going to hell. Homosexuals are going to hell. Smokers are going to hell. Obama is a Muslim. Masturbators are going to hell. I sinned in college, but I changed my ways. Change your ways or you’re going to hell.” We knew they were gonna be there, so me and one of the other College Republicans (CRs) went over and asked him if he could move, since we were trying to have a 9/11 memorial.
Just like I figured, he said, “9/11 was a sign and a punishment from God.” So we just left and headed back to the flags (the preacher is that big clump of people in picture 4).
We then had a few people come by and pray by the memorial. The first guy I saw was a Catholic priest who I could tell had a few tears fall from his eyes, and that was pretty powerful. We had some professors come and tell us thank you for doing what we were doing. We had a decent amount of people taking pictures.
It wasn’t too bad, but then some real Christians came along to try to drown him out, and that attracted a crowd. I went on the Internet and tried to find any law he was breaking, but he was doing everything legally. So, we just dealt with it. So around 1:00 P.M., the crowd around the preacher(s) is so huge that it’s overflowing onto the grass where our flags are. People are going around the group, since the sidewalk is blocked, and are stepping through the flags, trampling some of them. So we move a corner of the flags to give people more space, and we had some CRs stand as a buffer between the flags and the crowd. We asked whoever came through the flags not to step through the flags, and everybody said, “Oh, I’m sorry,” and didn’t do it again.
Then comes this guy – he walks through a LARGE part of the flags, way more than anybody else had, so one of the CRs says, “Can you please not walk through the flags.” He replied, “I don’t support the troops.” Well, I nearly lost it there. First of all, how can you not realize what memorial this is? This has nothing to do with the troops, this has to do with INNOCENT PEOPLE JUST LIKE HIM! And even if you oppose the war, you don’t oppose the troops. I wanted to just go after him and yell at him, but restrained myself and my mouth (had I have written this post right after that, it would’ve been in all caps and I’d be struggling not to drop swear words every 2 words). That really angered me – how can somebody be so heartless as to step on American flags and then shrug it off because they don’t support the troops or remember the tragedy that happened today.
So, at about 1:50 P.M., I headed off to English. I went back to my dorm to drop off my stuff and came back around 3:45 P.M. At this point, I still haven’t eaten, so I’m beginning to ge a little bit hungry, but I just stayed and watched the flags. At 4:50 I went to a meeting and got back around 6:30. We started taking down the flags and rolled them all back up (we didn’t have too many broken ones this time - last year it was really cold and the ground was hard, so a lot of them snapped). We handed a few flags out to people passing by, and had one guy stop and just start helping us, so that was pretty cool.
Then, we packed everything up, and I headed back to my dorm to write this.
Overall, it was a good day. I couldn’t help but get teary eyed looking at all those flags, knowing that each one represented a life, a family who was now missing a loved one. And I can’t help it now.
September 11, 2001 was a terrible day, but we need memorials like the one we did today to remind people of that date. It was sad to see people not realize why there were flags there (yes, we had people actually ask what it was for), or see the hate of that one man who stepped on the flags.
America needs to remember today – we can never afford to forget.