Campus Conservatives to Remember 9/11 at 180 Schools

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - Conservative students at more than 180 high schools, colleges and universities will take part Monday in an effort to honor those who were killed by terrorists in New York City, Washington, D.C., and southern Pennsylvania five years ago.

The Young America's Foundation's "9/11: Never Forget Project" says it "helps college students unite their campuses by remembering the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks and strengthen our resolve to win the war that the Islamic terrorists launched against us," said Patrick X. Coyle Jr., director of campus programs for the conservative organization.

Every year, the Foundation helps students on campuses across the country remember the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, through such activities as:
    Creating a memorial on campus grounds consisting of 2,977 American flags, one for each person who was killed on 9/11;
    Conducting a school-wide moment of silence or prayer at 9:11 a.m.;
    Distributing posters that show pictures of the burning World Trade Center towers, the aftermath of the attacks on the U.S.S. Cole and the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was eventually murdered by his Muslim captors; and
    Hosting high-profile speakers to discuss the importance of the War on Terror, including the combat in Iraq.
To help students commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Foundation is sponsoring addresses by a number of speakers, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who will give a speech at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill on Tuesday.

Also discussing the impact of Sept. 11, 2001, is Deena Burnett, whose husband Tom led the passengers on United Flight 93 in preventing the plane from hitting its intended target by forcing it to crash in a Pennsylvania field instead.

In connection with the 9/11 anniversary, Burnett spoke at Saint Mary's College of California on Sept. 6, as well as Virginia schools Bridgewater College on Thursday and the University of Richmond on Sept. 19.

Other events are scheduled to take place at schools ranging from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., to Youngstown College in Ohio and from Washington State University in the northwestern U.S. to Florida State University at the opposite end of the country.

Coyle noted that the Foundation started the 9/11: Never Forget Project after campus administrators and professors "either neglected to memorialize that tragic day or were hostile to basic American patriotism."

He cited the comments of University of Texas Professor Robert Jensen, who wrote weeks after the 9/11 attacks that the terrorists' acts were "no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism -- the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes -- that the U.S. government committed during my lifetime."

Professor Elisabeth Weber at the University of California-Santa Barbara wrote: "My concern over the U.S. flags surrounding campus is that they endanger the free exchange that normally characterizes our campus."

"These reprehensible statements were not just isolated instances," Coyle stated. "Students sought to solemnly remember those lost, yet administrators and professors offered them blank stares or anti-American rants."

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the Foundation began the program in 2003, when Coyle stated that he believed administrators were so scared to upset the left that they were willing to let the day go by.

"The left on college campuses has sort of distracted administrators away from the real reason we're in Iraq or Afghanistan, which was the terrorist attacks," he noted.

Coyle now says that the importance of the project was reinforced in 2005, when the only event scheduled on Sept. 11 at the University of Iowa was a "Peace Fest" to protest the Iraq war. The festival was sponsored by the International Socialist Organization, War Resisters League of Iowa City and the Iowa Socialist Party.

"Since 2006 is five years after 9/11, the response among conservative activists has been tremendous," Coyle told Cybercast News Service. "It is especially important on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that we commemorate the victims with a celebration of America's values.

"Most schools have pretty much ignored the day, but our students are really taking the lead in making sure that something proper is done on the anniversary," he added.

Such is the case at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where an American flag memorial display will be used to raise money to sponsor a brick in the university's name at the future World Trade Center Memorial.

"Remembering our national tragedy can only bring new hope and understanding and put us on the road to forgiving our enemies," said Derek Greene, a Georgia Tech student and U.S. Marine who will speak at an afternoon remembrance ceremony.

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