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West Michigan college students keep memory of 9/11 alive for future generations
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Communities across West Michigan are commemorating the 9/11 terror attacks along with the rest of the U.S.
Now that it's the 12th anniversary of the attacks, Newschannel 3 talked to young people who feel a responsibility to keep the memory of 9/11 alive for future generations.
This September 11th, a tribute to freedom rang across the Grand Valley State University campus in Allendale.
The bell tower sounded 12 times, once for each year since the tragic terror attacks in 2001.
We want this to be a celebration of how far our country as come and the lives of the victims and the heroes, said Ricardo Benavidez, the Student Body President.
Nearby there was a sea of small American flags laid out by the student center.
Just so people could put a number to the tragedy. If you look out, you see 2,977 American lives lost, said Andrew McLean, the College Republican Party Chairman.
Students spent the morning setting up the tribute of 2,977 flags.
The majority of students now at Grand Valley were in elementary school in 2001, with many of them not having firm memories about what happened.
I think it's really good for our age group to remember what happened in our lifetimes. In 20 years, we're going to be teaching kids about this and they're going to have the same sentiments my generation has about Pearl Harbor, Benavidez said.
At Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, ROTC cadets stood guard over a flag pole in the middle of campus.
For me it's just remembering 9/11. It's always been something that's close to me. It's one of the reasons I joined the Air Force ROTC, said Clark Albers of the WMU Air Force ROTC.
Army and Air Force cadets, who are students at WMU, would switch out every half hour from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
They stood there to honor 9/11, but also those brave men and women still fighting to preserve freedom.
People have been putting it by the wayside. It's nice to know we can keep it alive, Albers said.
Albers said they plan to keep this tradition alive in the coming years.