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Blair Oaks remembers

Dozens of students plant field of 2,976 U.S. flags to mark anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks

Before the start of classes Wednesday morning, students from Blair Oaks High School stuck 2,976 miniature flags in the soil near Route M in front of the school. It took only a few minutes as numerous students participated in the remembrance activities on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Before the start of classes Wednesday morning, students from Blair Oaks High School stuck 2,976 miniature flags in the soil near Route M in front of the school. It took only a few minutes as numerous students participated in the remembrance activities on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Photo by Julie Smith.

When people say “We remember” in conjunction with the events of Sept. 11, what do they mean? Do they mean we should always recall the suffering of our fellow Americans? We should not forget the fortitude of the people who found the strength to recover from that heinous attack? Or the idea that we still face an implacable foe?

For the students of Blair Oaks High School, the words mean that America is a country that finds strength in its unity.

On Wednesday about 75 senior high students placed 2,976 flags into the ground as a memorial to the victims who died in the attack. Many of the teens who helped with the task were only kindergartners when the attacks happened.

“We were really little when it happened and we don’t have vivid memories,” said Ben Campbell, president of the Blair Oaks Student Council. “We don’t remember it first-hand, but we still know what happened.”

Campbell was the first to suggest the idea to the council.

“I saw something kind of like it — I’m not sure where — and I thought, ‘That’s a good way to show that we remember.’”

As students placed the flags into the soil, they chatted quietly. Later their mood grew more reflective as Campbell addressed his peers. He said that while the loss that day was devastating, the flags are meant to demonstrate that Americans are still moving forward as a nation.

“The flags show that we can weather bad events and that we can bind together as a country and show our unity,” he said.

Campbell, an 18-year old senior, also said that very unity is why he values his experiences at Blair Oaks.

“It’s a big family,” he said. “We really don’t have cliques or groups here. It’s nice to be able to talk to anybody.”

Logan Gratz, also a senior, said he feels it’s “our job” to remember the people who died on Sept. 11.

“We still have to live our lives for them and remember them,” Gratz said.

Gratz said his peers were “excited” to participate in the project.

“Everyone knew that it meant something and it stood for more than just putting a little flag in the ground,” he said.

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