In The Nation’s Capital, Students Of A New Generation Honor 9/11
REBECCA HOLLISTER, JAVON PRICE AND THOMAS MUKUNDAN: Two weeks ago, college campuses across the country welcomed the Class of 2023. Of the thousands of students who entered college for the first time — 1,500 of them at Georgetown University — almost all were under the age of three during the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and many had not yet been born.
On a poignant day in our nation’s history, the best we can do is honor those who lost their lives 18 years ago and work to create a more tolerant and peaceful world.
That is why today, Georgetown University College Republicans and College Democrats, in partnership with the Georgetown Bipartisan Coalition, placed thousands of American flags across campus as a symbol of our community’s unity and resilience. This annual tradition preserves the memory of 9/11 victims and their families, and honors the first responders who bravely saved the lives of individuals in danger. It is also a tradition that feels especially important at a time when our country feels particularly divided.
Today, our sense of connection to fellow community members feels acute. But in the current political arena, this unity is far from the norm. Instead, partisan views dominate political conversations, which thrive on likes and retweets rather than civility and expertise. As college students with the privilege to develop our leadership skills, we have the opportunity to turn this tide and make a lasting impact on our generation. We must bring our peers together on the issues that unite us, promote respectful disagreement, and learn from diverse points of view.
The next generation of student leaders will be part of an increasingly connected and dynamic world. Georgetown in particular is fortunate to attract a large population of international students each year—freshman students who came to campus for the first time two weeks ago hail from 52 different countries. Our opportunity to form friendships and build bridges with students from diverse backgrounds is a stepping stone to building a more tolerant world.
Despite our political differences, the Georgetown College Democrats and Republicans wake up before dawn every year to plant the stars and stripes together. It is one of our most popular and meaningful volunteer events of each academic year. As future generations of students come to the Hilltop and attend other campuses nationwide, we invite them to join us in commemorating 9/11 and ensuring that its memory lives on. By coming together as friends and placing these flags, we are also planting the seeds that will make our community stronger and better equipped to solve the problems of the future.
Javon A. Price is a junior at Georgetown University and former Secretary of the College Republicans. Rebecca Hollister is a junior and the chair of the College Democrats. Thomas Mukundan is a junior and president of the Georgetown Bipartisan Coalition.