The gateway to Eastern Illinois University will be transformed into a sea of red, white and blue as the institution commemorates the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.
Volunteers from ROTC, the Student Veterans of Eastern and others will honor the 2,975 victims by placing flags on the lawn directly in front of Old Main (the "Castle"). According to Lt. Col. Stephen Knotts, there will be 2,603 U.S. flags and 372 foreign national flags in place from Friday through Sept. 16.
"Not many realize that over 10 percent of the people killed that day were from other countries," he added.
According to Knotts, the university and local communities will see the display of flags, each measuring 12 inches by 18 inches and standing a foot apart, as a remembrance of what happened that fateful day.
Other commemorative activities include a 9/11 Tribute Community Dinner and a 9/11 Memorial, both scheduled to take place Sunday and both open to the general public.
Live entertainment, a bounce house, silent auction and free food will highlight the community dinner being held at the Coles County Fairgrounds. Entertainment begins at 4 p.m., with food being served from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will end with a moment of reflection.
According to Rachel Fisher, director of Student Community Service, pulled pork, sides, dessert and drinks will be available for 200 people - first come, first served.
"This is an event that we've wanted to do for several years and that we want to become an annual fall happening," Fisher said. "It's an event that helps us celebrate our community and, in this instance, celebrate our emergency responders who wake up every morning knowing that it could be another 9/11."
The 9/11 Memorial will begin at 7 p.m. in the University Ballroom, located in the MLK Jr. Union, and will feature comments from local police and firefighters.
"We will reflect on the day and receive encouragement on how to build forward with hope and kindness," Fisher added.
Additional activities/events scheduled for the coming week (Sept. 12-16) include the following:
In addition, EIU's Booth Library will host exhibits of front pages from newspapers around the world from 9/11 and the capture of Bin Laden, 9/11 materials appropriate for children, and library resources related to the Constitution.