D&E remembers lives lost in tragedy

Photo courtesy of Davis & Elkins College Davis & Elkins College student Alessandro Trujillo bows his head in prayer near the display of 2,977 American flags. The Woodbridge, Virginia, resident was among scores of campus and local community members who attended the 9/11 ceremony Wednesday. Trujillo, who has a major in history and minor in religion, said he was 2 and a half years old when the tragedy occurred.

ELKINS — When the sun rose over the mountains and shone on the Davis & Elkins College hillside Wednesday morning, 2,977 American flags stood at attention. A few hours later, scores of students, faculty, staff and community members gathered outside of Liberal Arts Hall for a ceremony in remembrance of the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The flags, placed by members of the D&E Student Veterans Association (SVA), represent the number of people who died that horrific day.

“Everyone knows how many people died in 9/11, but seeing all 2,977 flags that each represent a life gives more of a visual,” said SVA President Kaylee Wagner of Lewisburg.

The ceremony opened with a prayer of hope led by D&E President Chris A. Wood. The positive aspects that resulted from the tragedy — building resilience, strength and faith — were reflected in the address given by Vice President for Enrollment and Institutional Advancement Dr. Rosemary Thomas.

“The world as we knew it changed forever,” Thomas said, citing that people became more patriotic, engaged, aware, compassionate and enlightened – an acrostic spelling out the word peace.

Thomas encouraged the group to, “stand up for what you are for, not what you are against. Stand up in faith, truth and dignity.”

Curator of Special Collections Mark Lanham ’14, retired Master Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, who serves as the SVA adviser, read an original poem, “Never Forget 911” penned by Enrollment Advisor Susan Plum ’96. Lanham reminded the group that on Sept. 10, 2001, victims of the terrorist attacks went to bed not knowing the fate they would face the following day.

At 8:46 a.m., the time the first Twin Tower was struck, Lanham lowered the flag to half-staff, concluding the ceremony.