ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — One day before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, 2,996 American flags were placed at Elmira College as a tribute to those who lost their lives.
The event has taken place on September 10th since 2015.
Ellen Himmelreich ’17, Director of Alumni Relations, said partaking in the ceremony is both touching and sombering.
“For me, placing each flag, knowing it represents a person that had died is very touching,” said Himmelreich. “I just think it’s wonderful that the college community does this and then also shares it with the general community as a tribute to those that we lost on that day.”
Elmira College students Maria Barton and Emily Gerth ’21 may have been young, but they see the impact this event has on people.
“You see the kind of love and appreciation that not only the community has for the college for putting on this event, but also the impact that it still has on the country as a whole,” said Gerth.
“Tomorrow on 9/11, I plan to go to the gym and climb however many flights of stairs and floors that they did just as another way to honor them,” said Barton.
While many lives were lost, there is one flag next to the Elmira College sign that stands out from the rest.
“We have a special flag dedicated to Darryl McKinney, Class of 97,” said Himmelreich. “He died in the towers after the attack and had been working in the finance [division] there.”
McKinney was a standout basketball player and took his team at Elmira College to the college finals. He got a bachelors degree in political science and a masters degree in education. In his memory, McKinney’s classmates placed a plaque of him in the college gym.