Over 100 white balloons were released at the Dixie State University clocktower Friday as part of the third annual 9/11 memorial service on campus.
The balloons represented lives lost by Utahns during the 9/11 attacks and in military service overseas. Patriotic music, inspiring words and a moment of silence also marked the memorial, which was attended by students, employees and veterans.
DSU General Counsel Doajo Hicks and Dean of Students Del Beatty were the keynote speakers at the event. The DSU ROTC presented the colors, and students sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and a rendition of “Amazing Grace” at the memorial.
“[9/11] was a day none of us can forget,” Beatty said in his speech. “It was a day that evoked strong emotion from all of us.”
There was a moment of silence when everyone in attendance was handed one of the white balloons to release. After the memorial, students rallied around the free melted brownies and watched as the balloons floated upward.
Hicks, who is originally from New York City, said he knew of hundreds of people who died in the 9/11 attacks through his former job as an administrator for the U.S. Coast Guard clinic on Governors Island in Upper New York Bay. Hicks said his ex-wife’s husband was one of the first responders who died in the attack on the World Trade Center.
“After 9/11, everyone really came together as a nation,” Hicks said. “You saw the American flag everywhere and people were talking about freedom…It’s important to remember events like these so we can come together still and learn from our mistakes.”
Hicks said he was expecting more people to come to the memorial than actually did. He said the low student turnout was likely because the memorial wasn’t on Sept. 11 and it was on a Friday — a day he said fewer people are on campus.
Myles Morrison, a junior communication major from Los Gatos, California, and a member of the National Guard, said it was powerful to see people come together and exhibit patriotism at the memorial.
“The emotions were tangible,” Morrison said.
Sky Crystal, a junior marketing major from Kimberly, Idaho, was one of the singers at the event who sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” Crystal said events like the 9/11 memorial at DSU are important because it helps people remember “how special it is to live in a country with freedom.”
“[The 9/11 memorial] helps remind us of other countries where attacks are taking place, like Syria and France,” Crystal said. “That’s why we need to come to college — to take advantage and remember the freedoms we’re given in America.”