The A.T. Still University (ATSU) Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons hosted their annual Patriot Day ceremony on Sept. 11, in somber remembrance of the terrorist attacks that shocked the nation in 2001.
Students, community members, and first responders gathered near the Adair County Courthouse in Kirksville, Missouri, to remember and honor the nearly 3,000 innocent people who lost their lives 18 years ago. The event featured a moment of silence, the National Anthem sung by the ATSU Medleys, student speakers, the raising of the United States flag, and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2508 playing “Taps”.
Rather than focusing on the fear felt by all Americans on this tragic day, student keynote speaker Chris Anderson, OMS II, encouraged all who attended to shift their attention to honoring the acts of heroism shown by many in the midst of tragedy.
“What defines a hero?” Anderson asked the crowd. “I believe a hero is someone who is willing to sacrifice their own life to save others.”
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists crashed two planes into the Twin Towers in New York City, New York, another plane struck the Pentagon in Washington DC, and a fourth was crashed in rural Pennsylvania as passengers overtook a hijacked plane intended to strike the White House. Around 3,000 people lost their lives, including nearly 400 first responders. On the day of the attacks, around 17,000 people were in the towers.
“Imagine if there were no heroes that day,” said Steven Sherman, OMS II, who served as the event’s emcee.