“With the distance of a decade, 9/11 can feel like part of a different era. But for the families of the men and women stolen, some of whom have joined us today, that day will never feel like history.”
President George W. Bush at the dedication of the Flight 93 Memorial on Sept. 11, 2011.
President Bush’s remarks echoed what we – Bruin Republicans, the only right-of-center club at UCLA – felt this year honoring the 10-year anniversary of “our generation’s Pearl Harbor.”
Most of us were in middle school in 2001 and are therefore old enough to remember the atrocities of that day. The event shaped much of the policy in today’s world and is something we will never forget. Most of us were in middle school in 2001 and are therefore old enough to remember the atrocities of that day. The event shaped much of the policy in today’s world and is something we will never forget.
Despite the ever-present memory of the attacks, there is still a need to acknowledge the losses, the pain and the sacrifice. Our memorial, to be erected on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 Attacks, answers this need.
After the announcement by UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block that the bells would merely play “America the Beautiful” at 11:50 a.m., it became crystal clear that the UCLA community needed to commemorate 9/11 in a more meaningful and visible way. Issuing a simple statement and playing only part of a song were not appropriate ways to remember the atrocious events of Sept. and its victims.
Never mind the fact that school is not yet in session and each of us were in different parts of California – the significant 10-year anniversary of the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks brought members of Bruin Republicans together to Los Angeles to pay tribute to the 2,977 lives lost a decade ago.
As part of the “9-11 Never Forget Project” of Young America’s Foundation, we put on two separate memorials: one during Saturday’s football game and the second on campus. Both displays consisted of 2,977 American flags that we placed into the grass, representing each precious life taken by a network of Muslim radicals.
Our memorials attracted the attention of students, alumni, and visitors who were at the football game on Saturday or were wandering around campus that Sunday.
This was no easy task, as it took weeks of dealing with much unnecessary bureaucracy to finally be able to set up the displays in a visible area. For the most part, individuals were respectful and even thankful of our display. Parents approached us asking us to explain to their small children what happened on that day, 10 years ago.
There was one incident that dampened the patriotic mood.
On Sunday, we set up the display of nearly 3,000 flags at the bottom of Janns Steps, one of the most transited areas on campus. It was with utmost respect that people walked around the memorial to reflect, thanking us for putting up a large display, especially after the school administration merely played a song that lasted less than a minute.
Sadly, toward the end of the day, an inconsiderate man started playing soccer with his son very close to our location. The soccer ball inevitably rolled on our display, knocking down several flags. Shamelessly, the man kept playing. Given that we live in Los Angeles, populated by too many unappreciative progressives, this only exchange was not totally unexpected.
As usual, however, when conservatives on campus successfully pull off an event, the back lash comes afterward.
The Daily Bruin, our careless newspaper, published an article about victimizing Muslim students and describing how miserable their lives had been since 9/11, “The events of 9/11 could help America turn toward a better future by moving past ignorance, intolerance.”
At UCLA, Muslims are one of the most protected groups: so much so that the student government passed an Islamophobia Resolution based on events taken out of context. Every religion, ethnicity, and nationality has its own stereotypes; denying it makes Muslims seem as though they are the only ones who are being typified and is simply an act of political correctness. I’d like to see the day when the student government issues a resolution condemning anti-Semitism or reprehending professors for their obvious leftist and unpatriotic biases.
Regardless of the aftermath, our goal was for people to take a second to remember the victims of 9/11 and the still-present threat of Islamic terrorism. The displays accomplished that. The incident with the soccer ball was unfortunate and the article in the paper was nothing but a microcosm of the political correctness that blinds a vast number of media sources on a much broader scale.