SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — A banner consisting of little swatches of red, white and blue construction paper assembled to resemble the American flag currently on display in the atrium of the Wittenberg University Benham-Pence Student Center might not mean much to the casual observer. But a closer look will reveal the true meaning of the idea developed by the 18 members of the Wittenberg Student Senate. The handmade flag is a tribute and a reminder to the campus community of the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“As student leaders, we felt it was important to mark the anniversary of the events of Sept. 11 in some meaningful way,” said Senate Vice President Elizabeth Hurst, a junior from Loveland, Ohio. “We tossed around a lot of ideas and then someone casually asked if we remembered what we were doing when we first heard the news of the attacks. Then it just hit me. We could assemble such statements into a flag!”
Hurst said the Senate wanted to do something that could involve as much of the student body as possible and not just a small group of those whose idea it was to develop a memorial.
“Timing is everything, I suppose, because we realized that one of the largest campus events was just around the corner, and it would be a perfect time to ask students to reflect on where they were on Sept. 11, 2001,” Hurst said. The annual activities fair is where the flag took shape.
She said the memorial has been an overwhelmingly powerful experience for her and the others involved because “everyone has embraced this idea as something positive and memorable.” Hurst said that not one person asked to participate had to think about where they were or what they were doing when they first learned of the attacks.
“They all instantly wrote down their answer. To me, that is powerful to know that my generation will always remember that day and how it affected us and still affects us today,” Hurst continued.
An art and special education double major, Hurst used her creative abilities to construct the mosaic representation of the American flag. She said it took Senate members three hours to collect the responses, and she spent another four hours assembling the flag, one hour to cut and paste the pieces together. With the help of others, it took another hour to hang the flag.
Time well spent, she said, to get the message out to others that those who lost their lives and everyone else whose lives changed on Sept. 11, 2001 will forever be remembered.
The flag should remain in place the week of Sept. 13.
On Saturday Sept. 11, the bells in the cupola of Myers Hall will ring at approximately 9:03 a.m. in memory of those lost in the attacks. At 7 p.m. Saturday evening, the College Democrats and the College Republicans will unite for a candlelight vigil in Ness Family Auditorium in Hollenbeck Hall. The entire Springfield community is encouraged to come together to share in prayer, to offer and listen to special observances and become strengthened in unity.