Putting on the dress uniform, the cadets from the Army and Air Force will formally guard the U.S. flag in front of the Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building for the 9/11 flag vigil.
The 9/11 flag vigil is an annual tribute that the BYU Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC hold to not only show respect to the people who lost their lives in the 9/11 incident, but also to honor those who serve in the U.S. military. The flag vigil is a 24 consecutive-hour tribute. In each 30-minute shift, one Army cadet and one Air Force cadet will guard the flag. The vigil will start on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 a.m. and it will end on Monday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 a.m.
The flag vigil tribute is a voluntary sign-up activity through the ROTC.
“I don’t necessarily have some great patriotic reason for doing it,” said cadet George Gross, a senior studying neuroscience. “It’s more like respecting these people.”
The newer cadets will stand in and guard the flag while the senior cadets are in charge of supervising, according to Gross.
“For that particular way of paying respect [standing and guarding the flag], it’s slightly uncomfortable,” Gross said. “But it’s no big deal.”
This special tribute on 9/11 is not only to pay respects for the victims but also for other reasons.
“I think it is important to remember back when 9/11 happened that there was a movement of national unity,” Capt. Richard Hart, recruiting flight commander of Detachment 855, said in a news release. “But 10 years later it seems that unity of the nation has been forgotten. This flag vigil is an important reminder to people what we are fighting for.”
The flag vigil is an good opportunity for the cadets to give something back to the community and to serve the country, said cadet Cade Shiozaki, a senior studying Portuguese.
“For me, it’s a very special thing,” said cadet Chris Smith, a senior studying exercise science. “Not only for the people that we lost in the attack, but also now the brothers and sisters who are in the war with terror have lost their lives.”
The senior cadets take this chance to help develop and give the new cadets opportunity to grow and serve, Smith said.
“Every time I put on the [Army] uniform, I feel really proud because there is a heritage behind it,” Smith said.