Monday, September 14, 2015

Midshipmen Memorialize 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Naval Academy midshipmen honored the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a number of events during the past week.

Twenty-two groups of midshipmen took part in a flag run around the Yard on Sept. 11. Every half hour from 8 a.m. to 7:05 a.m., a new group took the American flag and ran a lap around the academy grounds. The day ended in a moment of silence in Tecumseh Court at evening colors.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

“It is important for midshipmen to participate in events like this,” said Midshipman 1st Class Steven Rice. “It allows us to bond and grow with each other while publicly displaying our commitment to the past and those who gave their lives.”

Members of the Midshipman Action Group placed 2,977 miniature American flags along Stribling Walk, one for each victim who died in the attacks.

The flag is “a direct representation of what this country has fought for in order to become the greatest country the world has ever seen and that it cannot be brought to its knees by such cowardly attacks on our own soil,” said Rice. “Rather, the country as a whole has become stronger and more unified because of them.”

On Sept. 12, MAG also took part in the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, a day established in 2009 by Congress as a way to remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, survivors and those who rose up in response to the attacks through community service. The midshipmen held a ceremony at the Maryland World War II Memorial before spending the morning cleaning up both the memorial and nearby Jonas Green Park.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

“It’s important because it is a service project at a memorial,” said Midshipmen 3rd Class Joshua Shamrakov. “As we volunteer, we memorialize all the men and women who have gone before us.”

The 9/11 memorial events are MAG’s first large volunteer projects of the academic year.

“It is always great to have the midshipmen here to help out in our community,” said Steve McAdams, executive director of the governor’s office of community initiatives and keynote speaker at the ceremony. “The governor has a huge amount of respect for the service that you guys provide to our country and the security that you give us.”

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

These events gave midshipmen an opportunity to pay their respects and show their commitment to service.

“This is significant to us because many members of the Brigade grew up in the shadow of the 9/11 terror attacks,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Kyle McCullough, whose uncle – an FDNY firefighter – was killed when the North Tower fell. “Of the 2,977 lost on that day, 343 were firefighters from the FDNY and have a special place in my heart. They were the first heroes in the War on Terror.”

For many members of the brigade, the events of 9/11 are what called them to serve, said McCullough.

“This ceremony allowed us an opportunity in our busy schedules to remember the impact of the attacks.”

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