Flag vigil begins at 12:01
Well, the weather has been just awful the last 24 hours, with torrential rain with barely a break. However that did not prevent the UMass Republican Club and the UMass ROTC from putting up hundreds of flags as a reminder of the lives lost in the attack on America on September 11, 2001 by Islamic extremists.
Just before midnight, students began gathering to begin building the flag display.
In carefully laid rows, the volunteers placed them in a perfect geometrical display, each flag representing 10 Americans killed.
By the first minute of 9/11, all the flags were up.
This is what students, faculty and staff saw this morning when the sun came up.
Next to the flag display, someone placed this peace sign in purple cloth.
While the UMass campus was awash with flags, the town of Amherst itself has had a hard time coming to terms with how to acknowledge 9/11, as shown in this classic Larry Kelly video.
Maybe UMass has more of an incentive to note the day because one of their own was killed aboard one of the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers - Christopher Carstanjen of the Office of Information Technology. A special marker is located outside the Grad Research Center, which is where he worked, but this year the marker was obscured by a fence that has been up all summer because of a waterproofing project.
When I looked yesterday, the stone was completely obscured by all the plant growth that had taken place behind the fence. However, when I checked today someone had climbed over the fence and ripped away all the vegetation to expose the stone. God bless whoever did that.
Perhaps the best way to commemorate those who lost their lives on 9/11, and on the battlefields of the Middle East in the years since, is to refuse to be intimidated or allow these tragedies to degrade our lives. Not depression and anxiety, but hope and happiness. Therefore I offer this song in defiance of all darkness.