Island University Observes 20th Anniversary of 9/11 with Weeklong Itinerary of Events

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – As the sound of taps filled the air and the American flag billowed in the wind, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi observed the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and paid tribute to the memory and sacrifice of those who tragically lost their lives.

Through a week of commemorative events that included a memorial wreath laying ceremony, the Islander community gathered to show their respect and remember the legacy of our fallen heroes.

“September 11 is a day that is now known as Patriot Day,” LTC Steven E. Pierce of the Islander ROTC Battalion, said. “The wreath we lay today is our promise to never forget the tragic and raw events that happened that day.”

During the wreath laying event held on the university’s East Lawn on Friday, Sept. 10, Islander students, faculty, and staff, along with University President Dr. Kelly M. Miller, paused to memorialize the loss of nearly 3,000 lives 20 years ago.

Earlier in the week, Islander ROTC cadets planted miniature American flags on East Lawn for each person lost that day. The honored included victims lost during rescue and escape efforts at the site of the Twin Towers and those from the Pentagon, American Airlines flights 11 and 77, and United Airlines flights 175 and 93.

Islander alumnus Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche ’83 (ret.) made a special trip to campus to help lay the wreath. Wyche says while our country has vastly changed since that fateful day two decades ago, one thing that remains the same is our country’s perseverance.

“As I reflect on that tragic day 20 years later, one thing I am reminded of is just how strong we are as a nation,” Wyche said. “I want our young cadets to remember the day and to know that it is as Ronald Reagan said. He said, ‘freedom is a fragile thing, and it’s never more than one generation from extinction.’ We have to continue to remember that sentiment.”

The TAMU-CC 9/11 commemorative week also included a poetry reading, a Hometown Heroes night at Dugan Soccer Stadium, a 9/11 documentary showing, a 9/11 Bell Library archive project, and a 9/11 Twin Tower Trek, which was held at the Dugan Wellness Center.

Students also spent Saturday morning in service at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery and the USS Lexington. At the cemetery, student volunteers helped clean headstones, while at the USS Lexington, student volunteers helped with daily maintenance including repainting the fence on the outside of the vessel. The volunteer opportunity was sponsored by the Student Volunteer Connection (SVC).

“I was only a year old when 9/11 occurred but having heard the memories and experiences that my elders remember from that time, I believe it’s so important to continue honoring the victims and those who selflessly risked or lost their lives to save others on that day,” said health sciences major and SVC President Andrea Acuna ’22. “It was a tragic day for our country, but we can continue commemorating the lives of those lost by dedicating a few hours to serve our community and those who continued to protect our freedom.”

9/11 events were organized through a collaborative effort of several TAMU-CC offices and student-led organizations including Student Engagement and Success, Veterans Affairs, Rec Sports, the ROTC Islander Battalion, Center for Faculty Excellence, and Student Volunteer Connection.