|The 6,717 flags represent each military member who has died in combat since Sept. 11, 2001.|
The Vol State College Republicans joined together with the Vol State chapter of Student Veterans of America to commemorate Veterans Day with a ceremonial display of American flags on the front lawn of the campus. Each flag is in honor of every soldier that has died in active duty since Sept. 1l, 2001.
"It's not every day you see almost 7,000 flags on the front lawn of Vol State," said Dustin Hodges, president of Vol State College Republicans. "The idea is just to bring awareness to people about how many people have actually given their life for the war on terror. Everybody knows the death count in World War II and Vietnam, but this war has been kind of kept away from the American public, and people don't realize just how many people have lost their lives."
Hodges said the student club was going to originally prepare a flag display in recognition of those who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks. With the anniversary so close to the start of the fall semester, the club decided to wait to display flags until Veterans Day to honor fallen soldiers.
Vol State has never had recognized Veterans Day with anything of this magnitude. Hodges said he is hoping it will become a tradition each year, because it is important to remember all those who have given their lives for our freedom.
"We're really hoping that veterans realize that there are people out there who do realize the commitments and sacrifices they have made. We really do appreciate that," he said.
In addition to the flag display, a speaking event will be held at 2 p.m. on the front lawn featuring comments from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, State Rep. William Lamberth, and Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown. A meet-and-greet with the officials will be held following the event for students, faculty, staff, and members of the community.