Gameday field of flags will honor 9/11 victims

ISU's Air Force ROTC, with support from the division of student affairs, ISU police and recreation services, will coordinate a "Field of Flags" Saturday, Sept. 11, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. One 12-by-18-inch flag from their country of origin will honor each of the 2,977 victims who perished on the ground or in an airplane when suicide terrorists commandeered four commercial jets that morning in 2001.

The southeast recreation fields, east of Jack Trice Stadium, is the site for the Field of Flags. An anticipated 40-50 student volunteers, many of them enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program, will begin setting flags at 7 a.m., shortly after sunrise, and begin removing them at 6:30 p.m.

Capt. Eric Davis, U.S. Air Force and assistant professor of aerospace studies, developed the plan last spring.

"Most students were not born yet or were very young during the attacks. I think it's important that they be able to see the loss that occurred," he said. "The location, near the football stadium, was selected to reach a wider audience during the biggest football event in the state."

Davis noted that about 550 of the 9/11 victims were citizens of more than 90 other nations. Following Saturday's memorial, the United States flags will be donated to the Iowa Veterans Cemetery, Adel. The intent, he said, is to gift the flags from the other countries to their respective embassies.

Pregame tribute

A 9/11 tribute prior to the start of the 3:30 p.m. football game between Iowa State and the University of Iowa will include a moment of silence and flyover by three helicopters. A piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center towers will be displayed on the field during the national anthem.