by: Jocelyn Peshia

Three American flags draped across the Columns; a bagpipe band playing patriotic tunes; a lone trumpeter performing “Taps”; University of Missouri students and Columbia residents, bedecked in dark blues and reds, standing six feet apart on the quad. 

Although the symbols of this year’s 9/11 remembrance ceremony seemed typical, recent events were anything but typical to current college students who have only ever known war in Afghanistan. Mere weeks after the U.S. military’s withdrawal from the nation and the loss of 13 American service members in the Kabul airport attack, the university honored the first responders and military personnel who have served America since that fateful day twenty years ago.

The September 11, 2021 event began with music and a presentation of the colors from the Joint Services Color Guard and the City Honor Guards. Additionally, the University of Missouri Health Care helicopter performed a flyover above Jesse Hall and Francis Quadrangle. 

MU Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Latha Ramchand spoke first about the “spirit of resilience” demonstrated both by the United States post-9/11 and by the Mizzou community throughout the pandemic. She also expressed her gratitude for the hard work done by 9/11’s first responders. Columbia Mayor Brian Treece was next, presenting his comments on the impact of that “tragic” day and thanking first responders and the military. To conclude, Dr. Ramchand and Mayor Treece laid a wreath atop the plaque near the Columns. “Taps” was played, the bells were rung, and the bagpipe band played send-off music to complete the 2021 Patriots’ Day ceremony. 

Most members of the Class of 2025 were born after the events of 9/11. These young students, and many of the upperclassmen who were mere toddlers at the time, have no “where were you when it happened?” memory etched into their brains. For their entire lives, the U.S. has been at war in the Middle East. Although these students may have no recollection of the attacks, many still found time in their busy weekends to attend the ceremony. 

Some students found it important to attend because they wanted to “show respect for the people who went through it.” Sophomore Mason Williams was born into a post-9/11 world, but he believes in respecting those “who gave their life” to help others and “doing our part” to “learn the history” of the nation. 

Similarly, junior Ben Borgmeyer has no memory of 9/11, having been only six months old at the time, but he made a point to attend the ceremony on Saturday morning. “I think it’s a really neat way to commemorate everything our country has been through and all of the struggles we’ve had since then,” said Borgmeyer. “To realize in the time that we are in now, how we can still come together and be a united country and look past our differences and divisions.”

Edited by Ryan Cohen 

About Wagner, Cara (MU-Student)

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