We Will Never Forget

September 18, 2019

On September 11th 2001, the United States of America was attacked and around 3,000 lives were lost. Americans all across the United States promised never to forget. Since 2002, YCT has been keeping that promise. This year, eleven YCT chapters across the state from Lubbock to Houston each participated in planting 3,000 American flags in displays to remember those who tragically lost their lives that day and in the days that followed. The chapters that participated this year were The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M at College Station, Trinity University, Lone Star Cyfair in Houston, Texas State, Texas Tech, Austin College in Sherman, Texas Wesleyan, Texas A&M at Commerce, Baylor University, and the University of North Texas.

This year, most college students are born between the years of 1998 and 2002 and have little to no memory of 9/11, yet the events that occurred during 9/11 and as a result have been the most consequential events of their life times. Some of this semester’s freshmen were not alive when 9/11 happened. This means that we have reached an important milestone in the project of remembrance that we first began in 2002. Every year, it seems as though the memory of that tragedy that occured fades away a little more, but here at YCT we always take time each year to reflect on the day that permanently changed our lives.  

For our members, planting the flags was a surreal experience that, for many, marked the first time that they were able to do anything to commemorate 9/11 aside from talking to our parents and friends about the events and consequences of them. For the older members, 9/11 oftentimes marks our first memory, a flurry of sad and terrified emotions from our parents and teachers as the world came to a grinding halt.  

As for myself, having helped plant the 3,000 flags at Commerce Monday night and Baylor Tuesday morning, the remembrance project helped me comprehend the shear scope of how many people 3,000 really is. Each flag that I held in my hand represented a family that would never be the same; they would lose a loved one in the hours that followed the planting of the flags. When you spend 3 hours with 5 members planting these flags into intricate displays, you begin to understand how large of a number 3,000 really is. Planting these flags is a very emotional experience, and the memorial represents the complete loss of innocence that my generation experienced on that day. 

“It’s always so encouraging to see how many people from the university community are excited to come out and plant thousands of flags. Seeing the size of the display all put together is really incredible and I think makes a really impactful point.”   
– Lily Bonin, UT Chapter Chair

“YCT Trinity was honored to partake in our fourth annual 9/11 Remembrance project. 3,000 Americans were unjustly taken from us 18 years ago today. Our generation must not forget about the tragedies of terrorism as well as the brave heroism that occurred on 9/11. Most of the freshmen on campus were not yet born when the terrorists attacked on 9/11, so it is important that we work to educate while honoring those who served and died.”   
– Julia Westwick, Trinity Chapter Chair

“Planting the American flags in the ground is a great way to honor the lives lost. Trying to imagine how families felt to have their loved ones taken from them at the hands of terrorists on American soil is sobering and angering. The very least I could do is put the flags in the ground to try to get others to reflect on the events. In our display, we arranged the flags to spell out ‘USA’ to remind the Texas Tech community of the strength of our nation and the identity we hold as Americans.”   
– Skyler Wachsmann, Texas Tech Chapter Chair

“It is an honor and privilege to work alongside my chapter members to commemorate those lives lost on that somering day 18 years ago. The flags and our ‘Flag of Honor’ are more than just set pieces for a 9/11 memorial, they are reminders that we must never forget those brave men and women who lost their lives, loved ones, and friends.”  
– Nick Davis, Texas Wesleyan Chapter Chair

“Waking up early this morning was a sacrifice, but it in no way pales in comparison to the sacrifice first responders made 18 years ago by fearlessly running into the World Trade Center. I hope our display reminds students that, even in the face of unimaginable tragedy, our freedom is resilient and shines from sea to shining sea.”   
– Nick Ciggelakis, TAMU College Station Chapter Chair

“9/11 has always meant a lot to me. Although I was too young to remember the details, my family always tells me that my grandfather was on a plane above New Jersey when the first tower was hit. Luckily my grandpa wasn’t in harm’s way, but that was not the case for many, many other people. 9/11 is a very somber day for most, but it is not a day that can ever be forgotten. It’s hard to grasp how many people lost their lives in this event, but when students walk around their college campus and see all of the flags, it makes it a little easier to comprehend.”  
– Kelly Neidert, UNT Chapter Chair

“This morning I walked into the Texas State University quad, sat down, and watched the people go by as I normally do. I saw them running to class, talking with friends, kissing significant others, and going about their day as they normally do. On September 11, 2001, Americans woke up, dropped kids off at school, commuted to work, boarded planes and went about their day as they normally would. This is how it should have been. It is bittersweet to me now that 18 years later people can once again be blissfully unaware of what happens around them. This is how it should have always been, but we must never forget the fellow Americans we lost 18 years ago today. Time heals all wounds, but it still leaves a scar.”  
– Sebastian Quaid, Texas State Chapter Chair

“Seeing the thousands of flags waving in the wind made me feel so many different feelings when I thought about the horrific events that transpired on the morning of September 11, 2001. From pride to gloom I felt so much emotion just seeing the memorial we put together. To have been a part of this memorial was truly humbling for me and my fellow YCT members”  
– Miguel Hernandez III, Lonestar College Cy-Fair Chapter Chair

“The 9/11 Remembrance project was a great chance to commemorate the lives lost on September 11, 2001, and celebrate the heroism from the American people. Among my faint childhood memories are my father getting shipped to New York within 12 hours of the attack. He served on military standby for about a week after. Among the 3,000 lives lost are 412 emergency workers. Countless others not affiliated with an emergency service gave their lives saving others as well. Make sure to thank our veterans and first responders on this day, and remember the lives lost to this tragedy. Our display was to the American people and those who protect the American people every day. Those 3,000 flags are for them.”  
– Tyler Tonko, TAMU Commerce Chapter Chair

“This memorial is the least we can do to honor the victims and their families. Never forget September 11, 2001.”  
– Travis Fortune, Austin College Chapter Chair

As the Young Conservatives of Texas, we will always be grateful for the acts of valor that saved so many lives on 9/11. If it had not been for countless selfless acts of American heroism and self sacrifice, the death toll would have been much higher. To the first responders who died and will die as a result of 9/11, we are forever grateful for the examples of bravery and heroism that showcase why America is and should always be a shining city on a hill. YCT will always remember the victims of 9/11. 

Manfred Wendt 
Young Conservatives of Texas
Executive Director