MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – About 75 people attended the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the grounds of the Downtown Library on the WVU campus.
Commander of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 915 LTC Mark Arellanes said they wanted to properly pay their respects to victims of the attacks and war on terror, and share that patriotism with the campus community.
“This is a chance for not only our Army and Air Force ROTC programs to highlight that and recognize it internally to us, but to showcase that to the rest of the student population,” LTC Arellanes said.
President Gordon Gee was the keynote speaker and delivered a message of unity. On the 20th anniversary of the event Gee summarized the key difference between those who remember the event or portions of it and those who participated in the ceremony today that were born 20-years ago.
“We have a lot of 20-year-olds, and I think the fact that know about it, but it’s a historical issue for them it’s not a personal issue,” Gee said.
Gee reflected on the of unity that followed the attacks 20-years ago and hoped that sentiment could reemerge as we remember the event and welcome soldiers home from Afghanistan.
” I also remember it was a time of immense patriotism,” Gee said,” It’s something we’ve lost and it’s something I wish we could figure out how we come back together again, even in our disagreements.”
Gee lamented the loss of civility in discourse today. He said we all have something to offer and a reason to be heard.
“I hope this anniversary gives us an opportunity to return to first principals,” Gee said,” The principals are kindness and liking each other and being supportive of each other no matter our views.”
Until noon Saturday, ROTC members will hold a vigil at the 911 memorial on the Downtown Library grounds. Two cadets from the Air Force and Army will rotate on the hour- two cadets walking guard on the memorial and two cadets standing near monument. Staff members will also provide support.
The vigil is designed to teamwork principals and patriotism.
According to LTC Arellanes, the ROTC program guides young leaders to be resourceful, resilient and prepared to handle a variety of challenging situations.
“What we try to teach our cadets is that the unexpected needs to be expected,” LTC Arellanes said,” We need to be prepared to step forward with conviction and pride to lead our airmen and soldiers.”