Patriot Day Observance Begins with Flag Display, Ceremony Sept. 11

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Flags are on display on the front lawn of Academic Hall today in observance of Patriot Day.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 11, 2015 –Flags numbering 2,977 honoring the fallen during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, adorn the front lawn of Academic Hall at Southeast Missouri State University today, Sept. 11, in observance of Patriot Day.

The day began with a flag ceremony in front of Academic Hall as an ongoing effort by the University community to ensure that Americans never forget the fallen, first responders  and military members who sacrificed their time and lives due to the terrorist attacks.

Participants gathered at 7:40 a.m. The Southeast Show Band performed the “The Star Spangled Banner” as the flag was raised and Show Me Gold program participants and Air Force ROTC cadets rendered salutes. The flag was lowered to half-staff and “Taps” was played. A moment of silence was then observed.

Flags at Academic

Air Force ROTC cadets prepare to raise the flag.

“We must always remember and honor the men and women who lost, or have given, their lives, as a result of 9/11 because despite the efforts to rip our nation apart by the terroristic events, the American people came together and persevered as a unified nation,” said Jeremy McBroom, director of the Office of Military and Veterans Services a Southeast. “Unity — that’s what people should remember—that even though Americans had experienced those horrific events, they stood unified, despite all their differences, and persevered.”

Patriot Day observances will continue on Sunday, Sept. 13, as Jeff Bauman, Boston Marathon bombing survivor and national hero, will open Southeast’s 2015-2016 Speakers Series at 2 p.m. in Academic Hall Auditorium. The title of his address is “Beyond the Finish Line: A Conversation with Jeff Bauman.” The event is free for faculty, staff, students and the public, and no tickets are necessary.

On April 15, 2013, Bauman stood at the finish line of the Boston Marathon eagerly awaiting his girlfriend Erin. As he waited, an ominous looking man dressed in dark clothing appeared. The man who seemed so out of place on such a festive day dropped a black backpack only a few feet from Bauman and moments later, the first of two explosions rocked Boylston Street.

flag installation

Participants in the Show Me Gold program installed flags on the front lawn of Academic Hall.

Bauman was gravely injured, losing both of his legs along with other serious injuries. Amongst the smoke and carnage appeared Carlos Arredondo, a peace activist who was at the marathon, who quickly lifted Bauman and got him to an ambulance, saving his life.

Once inside the ambulance, Bauman told the EMTs that he knew who had set off the bomb. Despite being somewhat delirious and in shock, he still remembered the man in dark clothing with whom he’d made eye contact with just minutes before the blast. When Bauman woke up from surgery, FBI agents were outside his door. He started talking, a sketch artist started drawing and soon the FBI had identified the two suspects. Days later their reign of terror over the city of Boston had ended and Bauman went from a normal 27-year-old Costco employee, musician and Boston sports fan, to national hero.

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Jeff Bauman

Since that tragic day, Bauman has remained a beacon of hope, strength and resilience and his story is featured in the New York Times Best-Selling Memoir “Stronger” that is currently being adapted for film. A photo of Bauman and Arredondo surfaced that day and is now the most iconic image of the marathon tragedy. He now shares his story with audiences across the country in a presentation that will be sure to uplift and inspire.

For information, please feel free to contact the Office of Military and Veterans Services at 573.651.2263 or via email at veterans@semo.edu.