In a season of relentless political rancor, members of the College Republicans and College Democrats wanted to do something special to mark the anniversary of 9/11.
So a handful of students from both organizations worked side by side for a few hours Sunday placing 2,000 miniature American flags in the field near the flagpole in the shadow of the Nott Memorial.
The flags are a poignant reminder of that horrific day 11 years ago. They also serve as a message from a generation still in grade school when the country was under attack.
"We don't want people to forget the great loss of that day,'' said Charlotte Lehman '14, president of the College Democrats.
"We wanted to open the school year with a bipartisan statement that we can all get along. It doesn't matter whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. We are Americans first."
Nick D'Angelo '14, president of the College Republicans, helped his organization place flags around campus to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This year, he wanted to broaden the effort to include students from the other side of the political aisle. It didn't hurt that Lehman is also his girlfriend.
"This is a nice way to be non-partisan," said D'Angelo, a double major in economics and history from Carmel, N.Y.
The College has paused in the past to honor the 3,000 victims who perished in the collapse of the World Trade Center and the plane crashes in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.
A year after the attacks, thousands of flags was placed around campus to honor the victims, including those who had a connection to Union.
Losses to the Union family included: Thomas Duffy '71; Andrew Fredericks '83; Peter Freund '77; Donald Kauth '74; Alexander Steinman '91; Christopher Quackenbush, husband of Traci S. Quackenbush '80; Timothy Haviland, brother of David Haviland '83; Arlene Fried, mother of Allison Fried '02; and James Patrick, brother of Kevin Patrick, former assistant hockey coach.
On the fifth anniversary, the campus community gathered around a small oak tree planted at that first anniversary behind the Viniar Athletic Center. A plaque gently reminds visitors of its significance.
Last year, the College marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a day of remembrance, “Building Bridges toward Better Understanding.” The campus community was invited to the Nott Memorial to share thoughts about that day.
This year, the flags will remain on campus for two weeks, allowing time to reflect and remember 11 years after the devastating attacks.
"I was only in the fourth grade when it happened," said Lehman, a classics major from Geneva, N.Y., "so I was too young to understand what was happening at the time. But it has really stuck with our generation, and I hope we can show that we can all get along."