Inspiring words, quiet remembrance and patriotism marked the second annual 9/11 memorial service at Dixie State University.
Students and community members gathered at the clocktower at noon Friday to pay tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon 14 years ago. The seats were completely filled; people gathered and stood around the clocktower all the way back to the steps of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons to try to get a view.
The memorial service began with members of the DSU ROTC presenting the colors and students singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” Dillon McKinney, vice president of service for the DSU Student Association and a junior math major from St. George, conducted the memorial.
“A lot of students were really young when 9/11 happened, and even though they may not remember it, it’s still important to remember the sacrifices that were made,” McKinney said.
Warren Jederberg, a naval commander who had an office in the Pentagon during the attacks, was the keynote speaker. Although he was not in the Pentagon during the attacks, Jederberg said his office was destroyed.
Jederberg spoke of the importance of patriotism and recognizing the servicemen and women in the community.
“My life and so may others were impacted by 9/11,” Jederberg said. “But the American people are resilient. We must be active—not passive—in defending the constitution and our country from those who would harm it.”
Jederberg said he believes in “American exceptionalism” and urged the audience to have pride for their country.
“Sept. 11 is more than a day of mourning— it’s a day of hope,” Jederberg said.
Following Jederberg’s remarks, two members of Raging Red, a vocal and dance performance group at DSU, sang the song, “I’m Proud to be an American.”
Over 100 white balloons were passed out to the audience members. Following a moment of silence to remember the 2,753 victims of the 9/11 attacks, the balloons were all released at the same time. The reverence among the audience continued as the balloons drifted upwards.
Wesley Plumb, a freshman automotive mechanics major from St. George, said he appreciated the memorial for paying respect to those who died.
“It’s great to see so many people come together and pay respect,” Plumb said. “I can definitely say I have more love for my country now.”
McKinney said he hopes the 9/11 memorial at the clocktower will become a DSU tradition in the years to come.
“[9/11] was something that affected the entire nation,” McKinney said. “We need to make sure we never forget what happened on that day.”