BYU ROTC to commemorate 9/11 in 21-gun salute

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Luke Hansen
Americans commemorate those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The BYU ROTC also commemorates this day with a 24-hour vigil. (Luke Hansen)

The ROTC will present a 21-gun salute at its annual vigil on Friday to remember those who died in the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Air Force will lead the salute at 8:55 a.m. on Sept. 11, with seven members firing a volley of three shots into the air.

The 21-gun salute started as a military symbol to signify that the army was finished burying their dead.  Today the practice is put in motion during military memorial services as a sign of respect.

Following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, BYU ROTC has a tradition of remembering the heroes who gave their lives and the victims who lost their lives with a 24-hour vigil.  A ROTC member dressed in uniform will be standing at attention below the Smoot Administration Building flag pole from Friday morning until Saturday.

BYU ROTC Captain Wade Bozeman explained the significance of the 24-hour vigil.

“They gave all; all the pain, all the suffering,” Bozeman said. “For their huge sacrifice, we sacrifice just a little.”

The ceremony will also include a rose laying portion. Four roses will be placed below the American flag to represent the four planes that were hijacked during the terrorist attack.

BYU ROTC student William Daybale remembers back to his fourth grade year when the attack occurred and how he felt about the safety of his father, who was working in the Pentagon at the time.

“(September 11) is a day to look back and remember people that died and were victims but also those who were heroes,” Daybale said. “It is a time to reflect, ponder and hope that we have improved, that we have done better as individuals and a nation.”

Luke Hansen
The American flag hangs as a symbol of American pride. On Sept. 11 a uniformed ROTC member will be posted under an American flag on BYU campus to show respect for those who have fallen. (Luke Hansen)

Many armed forces representatives believe that the events of Sept. 11 were too quickly forgotten. Bozeman, who was in second grade at the time of the attack, still remembers the moment his father was deployed to complete three tours in Iraq.

“It was worth the sacrifice from keeping it from happening again,” Bozeman said. “A lot of people have forgotten what happened. We used to be more united, more patriotic.”

The ROTC will continue to remember the events of the Sept.11 terrorist attacks. Bozeman said he hope others will also take a moment on this day to reflect on those that gave their lives, and continue to give their lives for freedom.

“Sept. 11 is a good reminder of the American way,” Bozeman said. “When we get knocked down, we stand back up and we get back in the fight.”

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