Tenth Annual Waves of Flags Display Honors 9/11 Victims:
For the 10th consecutive year, Pepperdine University’s Alumni Park will become home to the University’s annual Waves of Flags installation that, since 2008, has commemorated the lives lost in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
Waves of Flags will feature a display of a total of 2,977 full-size flags—2,887 American flags for each American life lost and 90 various international flags representing the home countries of those from abroad who died in the 9/11 attacks.
The installation became a University tradition in 2008 when the Pepperdine College Republicans, inspired by a similar display, wanted to bring the tribute to the University. Since then, Waves of Flags has become a significant service project for the Pepperdine community. On Saturday, September 8, 2018, a group of more than 200 volunteers, including Pepperdine faculty, staff, students, and Malibu community members, joined together to install and raise the flags.
In addition to the Waves of Flags installation, the Pepperdine community is invited to observe September 11 in honor of the heroes who were lost in 2001 with a brief service to remember the fallen and pray for peace and reconciliation. The service, hosted by the Pepperdine Office of the President and Office of the Chaplain, will be held Tuesday, September 11, at noon at the the Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., Heroes Garden on the Malibu campus. Heroes Garden is a public space for visitors to reflect and honor all those who live heroic lives, including Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. (MBA ’95), a passenger on United Flight 93 whose life was cut short in the 9/11 attacks. A plaque at the garden's entrance reads: "Dedicated to freedom's heroes of September 11, 2001, and the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, among them Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., who sacrificed their lives to overcome terrorists’ intent on destroying American lives and landmarks in our nation's capital. We shall never forget."
Al Sturgeon, Waves of Memories:
Walking among the flags is an experience in and of itself, not to mention a photographer’s dream in the Age of Instagram, but my favorite thing to do is to watch the first responders and the veterans park their fire trucks and motorcycles on the iconic Pacific Coast Highway and walk up the hill to take in the experience. They are far more inspiring to watch than the flags themselves.
In the early years, someone had the proper idea to place flags of other nations among the American flags to represent the correct nationalities of the victims of the attacks on that fateful day. After all, the attacks were acts of aggression against the entire world. International students and guests to campus are happy to find their flag and yet sobered by the reminder of the loss that flag represents.
We still remember that terrible day. In a year or two, incoming college students will remind us that they were not alive in the fall of 2001, but as of today the flags are still flying and those of us who remember still share our stories.
President Abraham Lincoln predicted that the world would soon forget what he said that historic Thursday afternoon in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, but elementary school children still memorize his speech over 150 years later. Some things are simply unforgettable.