Campus memorial to honor 9/11 victims with thousands of flags
GCU News Bureau
More than 10 years have passed, and Tim Kane feared the impact of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 might get overlooked. He didn’t want that to happen at Grand Canyon University.
The GCU military enrollment counselor, an Army veteran and former high school history teacher, organized a campus event for Wednesday that he felt would provide the visual effect necessary to help the GCU community remember the human toll of 9/11.
“Slowly but surely, the events that unfolded that day have been scrubbed away in an effort to ‘move on,’ but I consider that to be counter to what history is all about,” Kane said. “When I taught history and government, I made it a point to dedicate a week for a 9/11 lesson plan. I do not want the current generation to forget about it.”
Led by Kane, GCU volunteers will set up 2,977 American flags on the Quad just north of GCU Arena to mark the number of innocent victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. The names of the victims will be shown on the nearby digital message board at GCU’s College of Education and read aloud, 805 names per hour, by teams of University students and employees.
Additionally, 147 other American flags will be set up outside the Arena in the shape of the state of Arizona to mark the number of Arizona veterans killed in the line of duty in the war on terror. The flags have been donated by the National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix.
The event begins at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday with a prayer and the presenting of colors by the Phoenix police and fire departments’ honor guards. But the flag memorial will be in place throughout the day so that visitors can reflect on the tragedy with friends and family or in meditation.
This isn’t the first such gesture spearheaded by Kane. In July, he completed a 112-mile bike ride and run from Peoria to Prescott to focus attention on those impacted by the devastating Yarnell Hill Fire, which claimed the lives of 19 firefighters. He raised more than $5,000 for the 100 Club of Arizona’s scholarship program, which covers education expenses for the children of fallen public safety personnel.