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UTPA pauses to remember on 10th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
By Roxanne Lerma Casares, staff writer
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Posted: 09/14/2011
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UTPA students write down their promises of how they will remember the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The papers carrying their oaths were attached to a wall in the Student Union and formed an American flag.

“I will pray for all of the families that lost their loved ones”—Jake.

“I will send a magazine to friends who are serving overseas”—Adriana.

“I will try my hardest to be a better citizen”—Talina.

Those are just some of the moving messages that are scribbled onto scraps of red, white and blue construction paper at The University of Texas-Pan American’s Student Union building. The notes are part of a Bronc tribute movement (911day.org) to memorialize the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“We came up with the activity for students to commemorate the anniversary and as a special way for them to express their memories,” said Edna Zambrano, Student Union director.

The colored squares were pieced together to make a giant American flag that will be on display through Friday, Sept. 16.

“Many of our freshmen were only 8 years old when the attacks happened,” said Zambrano. “We wanted to make sure they had a moment to reflect on it.”

Ruby Saenz, a junior at UTPA, took a couple of minutes to read through the personal passages.

“It is so touching to see something like this,” said Saenz. “Most of us were really young when the tragedy happened, but no one can forget where they were the day it happened. It is nice to see that the university is honoring the fallen heroes and the people that lost relatives that day.”


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UTPA ROTC members lower the American and Texas flags at half staff Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 to honor those who died during the terrorist attacks that occurred 10 years ago that day.

Participants were asked to jot down a charitable activity, good deed or a personal plan to honor the 9/11 victims, survivors and those who rose in service in response to the assault on the United States.

“We just need to remember all their sacrifices. This wall is a good memento that we cannot ever take our freedom for granted,” said Saenz, a criminal justice major from McAllen.

UTPA's Bronc Battalion ROTC also held a remembrance ceremony in honor of Sept. 11. Lt. Col. Mari Alvarado, professor of military science spearheaded the tribute.

“We want to make sure we do our part in remembering the events and remembering those selfless individuals who gave their lives in the 9/11 event,” Alvarado said.

A group of about 50 people gathered in front of the Student Services Building Sunday, Sept. 11 for a flag ceremony. ROTC cadets lowered the American flag to half staff. A trumpeter played taps in honor of the victims and troops who are still fighting the war on terror. A remembrance speech was read for the small crowd of students, staff and UTPA police officers.

“We want to show that we are standing united with the family members who lost someone that fateful day,” Alvarado said.

The names of the dead, recited by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, echoed across the grounds in a haunting but optimistic acknowledgment of the decade that has passed since the terror attack.

Just hearing the names was a powerful experience for many, said Alvarado.

“We will not forget,” she said.

See more of the Sept. 11 activities by visiting UTPA's photo gallery.