Southeast Mo. State to observe Patriot Day with commemoration ceremony, Heroes Challenge

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 3:01 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2021 at 4:21 AM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Southeast Missouri State University will observe Patriot Day with a commemoration ceremony and Heroes Challenge.

The 20th Year Commemoration Ceremony will be held from 7:40 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Friday, September 10 in front of Academic Hall.

The university community and public are invited to attend.

At 7:44 a.m., the Southeast Show Band will perform “The Star Spangled Banner” as Show-Me Gold program participants and Air Force ROTC cadets raise the flag. It will then be lowered to half-staff as “Taps” is played, followed by a moment of silence.

The ceremony will take place amid a backdrop of 2,977 American flags placed in the lawn of Academic Hall.

Local law enforcement, fire, first responders and military personnel will also be honored.

The 20th Year Commemoration will include a Heroes Challenge at the Student Recreation Center September 9-10. It is open to all students, staff and faculty.

Participants can attempt to climb 1,920 steps, the equivalent to the number of stairs firemen climbed during rescue attempts.

The University’s Military and Veterans Services Officer said this is a great educational opportunity for the students who might not remember that historic day.

”Trying to help them understand the significance, but also understand the aftermath of it, the unity that the country went through after that aftermath and regardless of any different type of background, we came together as one. At southeast we like to mirror that,” Amanda Woods said.

One senior shared his reason for stepping up to the challenge to do the stair climb.

“I just saw the sign that they had up when I walked in and I saw the shirt, and then I figured I might as well do it. I know 9/11′s coming up, I was really young, I don’t remember it at all, and I just figured it was a good way to honor those heroes that died,” Kyle Rachas said.

And even 60-year-old Peggy Bond was up for it.

“It was the least I could do. And also, it was just a challenge and also I didn’t have all that heavy garb on, I mean, this was nothing, I went 2,500 steps and that was nothing compared to the oxygen tanks and all that garb they had on and I just focused on them. On the firefighters and all the people that lost their lives. I can’t imagine what it was like going up those stairs knowing that you probably were not going to come back,” Bond said.

Bond said age shouldn’t put a limit on what you can or can’t do.

“It took me awhile to work up to this. Don’t start this right off but you know just work it up a little bit so you can do it, you can do anything that you set your mind to and your body lets you,” she said.

According to the university, the ceremony is an ongoing effort by its community to ensure Americans never forget the fallen, first responders and military members who sacrificed their time and lives due to the terrorist attacks.

On Sept. 11, 2001, 2,977 people lost their lives after four planes were hijacked by terrorists. Two of them crashed into the New York World Trade Center, one crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth crashed at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

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