Sunday, June 16, 2024

9/11 Remembrance at MTSU: 21 years later


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Story by Jordan Reining | Contributing Writer

Photos by MTSU

Middle Tennessee State University hosted its eighth annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony on the 21st anniversary to honor those that died and first responders. 

ROTC senior cadets read a timeline describing the attack, followed by guest speaker Greg Mays, the Director of Homeland Security at the Tennessee Department of Safety. The ceremony was concluded by veteran Robert Aanerud performing taps.  

ROTC Cadet Chris Boykin (far right)

Today marks the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Many Americans can vividly recall where they were and what they were doing when they learned of the attacks. 

ROTC cadet Chris Boykin spoke during the ceremony about his location.  

“I was a freshman in high school. I specifically was sitting in ancient history (class),” Boykin said. 

Boykin was the only cadet out of three present old enough to remember the day. The number of university students that weren’t alive or were too young to remember 9/11 increases as each year passes.  

In the days and weeks following 9/11, unity surrounded America. 

Keith Huber, a retired Army Lt. Gen., was preparing to deploy to Kosovo when he learned of the attacks. 

We all saw people put aside political disputes and unite against an enemy that attacked us all

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber
Retired Army Lt. Gen.Keith Huber

Bradley Wilsher, a sixth grader from a Rutherford County school attended the ceremony with his parents. His father is an ROTC professor at MTSU. 

“I think remembrance means like to honor the people who died for our lives, and also the people who died unwillingly,” Wilsher said. 

Remembrance is different for every individual, but for younger generations, it is represented by videos shown in school and stories told by others. While they did not experience the events of 9/11, young Americans are urged to remember. 

“If you wanted to have just one reason, it would just be from a historical perspective to help everyone, especially young people, understand the world they live in,” said Director Mays. 

Twenty-one years ago, the world changed. Growing up with the rise of cellphones and social media, teens and children see the effects of worldwide events in real time.  

“Now when you look at young people today that are coming up, they’re fully aware of what terrorism is,” Mays said. “In forms of perspective, I think that the younger generation has changed from when I was growing up.” 

Regardless of age, the impact that 9/11 had on the United States and the world will not be forgotten. 

Members of the audience at the MTSU Ceremony

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News 

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