Political groups on campus cross party lines to commemorate 9/11

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September 8, 2014

11:44 PM

Though 13 years have passed since Sept. 11, 2001, the College of William and Mary still commemorates the day as one of reflection and cooperation.

On Sept. 10, the College Republicans and Young Democrats will join efforts to place American flags on the west end of the Sunken Garden.

“We’ve been doing this at least since I’ve been a freshman and I’m a senior,” College Republicans president Kathleen Gayle ’15 said. “Basically we get in contact with the Young Democrats a few days before [the event] and work with the Student Assembly and we go out to the Sunken Garden after it gets dark and place the flags a foot apart from each other. … There’s usually a good amount of volunteers there from the Young Democrats, College Republicans and Student Assembly.”

When the event began, there were just under 3,000 flags to commemorate every death that occurred on the Sept. 11 attacks. While the flags are laid down to represent lives lost, Young Democrats president Elise Orlick ’15 said that they have also come to represent cooperation between the campus Democrats and Republicans.

“I consider this an important event because of the symbolism, both of our two clubs working together and because the flags express the enormity of this loss while honoring each victim individually,” Orlick said. “While I find the act of laying the flags to be a very humbling, and of course somber experience for participants, the atmosphere is friendly at the same time. We take seriously the need to keep this event non-partisan. We also hear from other students each year that they appreciate the result, so it is an event that I think touches the community as a whole.”

Gayle expressed a similar sentiment, adding that the event serves as an important medium for College students with different political alignments to foster relationships.

“It’s a really great thing that we do every year and it’s a great way for new members, especially of those clubs, to meet each other. … I know that’s how we keep a great relationship with each other,” she said.

Vice President of the Young Democrats Michael Payne ’15 added that this event marks the beginning of a few partnerships between the two student groups.

“We do a debate with the College Republicans and we try to do a student volunteer day in the Spring semester,” Payne said.

The Wren Bell will ring four times on the morning of Sept. 11 to commemorate each of the planes that was involved in the attack. Additionally, the Queen’s Guard will stand posted from 9 am to 5 pm at the entrance of the Sunken Garden, watching guard over a memorial wreath and rotating in twenty-minute shifts.

“I have always wanted to join the military, and 9/11 reinforced my decision-making,” Commanding Officer Douglas Leung ’15 of the Queen’s Guard said.

Michael Payne ’15 added that this event marks the beginning of a few partnerships between the two student groups.

“We do a debate with the College Republicans and we try to do a student volunteer day in the Spring semester,” Payne said.

The Wren Bell will ring four times on the morning of Sept. 11 to commemorate each of the planes that was involved in the attack. Additionally, the Queen’s Guard will stand posted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the entrance of the Sunken Garden, watching guard over a memorial wreath and rotating in twenty-minute shifts.

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Rohan Desai
  • Rohan Desai

Rohan Desai '17 is a Government and Economics major from Voorhees, New Jersey. He was previously a News Editor and an Associate News Editor.