MORGANTOWN — At 8:46 a.m. Sept. 11, 2001, America changed forever when the first of two planes was flown into the World Trade Center in New York.
Seventeen years later to the minute, Army and Air Force ROTC cadets at WVU honored those who lost their lives in that attack by lying a wreath at the 9/11 memorial in front of the downtown campus library while Taps was played.
The tradition has been carried out since 2002, John Dowling, recruiting operations officer, said.
Beginning at midnight Sept. 11 until 11:59 p.m. cadets stand watch over the 9/11 memorial and patrol the campus quad, Cadet Battalion Command Shane Moore said.
The 2001 attack killed 2,977 Americans, including two WVU alum, Chris Gray and Jim K. Samuel Jr. Gray was a WVU quarterback from 1987 to 1991.
Gary Furbee, 41, deputy general counsel for WVU, watched the cadets perform the ceremony and said it was good that they honor the day each year.
“It’s an important day to remember,” he said.
Cadet Yi Ting Lin, 20, said she was too young to remember the attack, adding she had just come to the U.S. from Taiwan.
She said she first learned of the attacks not long after she could understand English — in kindergarten or first grade.
“It means a lot to me even though I’m not originally from this country,” Lin said of 9/11.
She said that day has a special impact on her because she wants to play a bigger role and serve her country — Lin became a citizen two weeks ago.
Lin is also a member of the National Guard and said her goal is to go active duty after college.
“The amazing thing about this generation is they were infants but still step up and volunteer,” Dowling said.
He said Tuesday’s ceremony also honors the hundreds of young military members who have graduated from WVU ROTC and gone on to deploy.
Tweet Will Dean @WillDean_DP; email@example.com