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Journalism Student Makes Effort to Commemorate 9/11 Victims

Special Memorial Event to be Held Friday

by Armando Aguirre (B.A. Creative Advertising '12)

It has only been two weeks since the start of the new school year, but already Meadows students are finding themselves as busy as ever. While rehearsals, homework, and class projects are keeping Meadows students engaged, one Journalism major is doing something slightly different. Rachel Duke, a Meadows senior (and History minor), is in the middle of planning “9/11: Never Forget” – a very special campus-wide event to honor those who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks in 2001.

This past summer, Duke was one of 30 students chosen out of an applicant pool of over 500 to intern at the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C. It was there that the initial inspiration for “9/11: Never Forget” came about. “The main idea behind the entire project is to honor and unify America as we remember the tragic events of that horrible day in 2001,” she explains. “It will be a great opportunity for both SMU and the Dallas community to come together to remember those who lost their lives.”

Duke has already made tremendous progress on the endeavor in a very short time. She hopes to bring the project, which takes place at numerous universities in Texas and across the nation, to SMU for the first time. The event, which will take place on September 10, will include 2,977 American flags (one for every death caused by the attacks) being placed on the main quad in front of Dallas Hall, a moment of silence at exactly 9:11 AM, and a guest speaker who is yet to be named. Additionally, pins, flags, and copies of the American Constitution will be handed out.

As far as what drove Duke to attempt such a large project in such a short time, she explains that it was simply her compassion. “I saw the devastation of that day depicted in the media and immediately felt for the victims. The pain was so real that it affected us as a nation, as a whole. The project alone speaks for itself in its name – 9/11: Never Forget. There is no agenda or politics, just a gathering of Americans to honor those who are no longer with us.”

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