Two guards stand outside the Downtown Library in memoriam of 9/11.

Sept. 11, 2019: Two guards stand outside the Downtown Library in memoriam of 9/11.

On Sept. 11, 2001, WVU students gathered around televisions in the Mountainlair to witness the horrific events that unfolded.

As tragedy struck, dormitories throughout WVU’s campus heightened security, counseling areas were pitched and students rushed to aid victims of the attack in any way possible.

“I walked into the Mountainlair after class, and I saw everyone gathered around the information desk television set,” said student Stacy Stewart in the Sept. 12, 2001, Daily Athenaeum publication. “I could not believe what was happening.”

Despite fear and despair looming over campus, students lined up outside Boreman Hall to join a line that moved for more than four hours to donate blood to contribute to those who fell victim to the attacks.

“We obviously weren’t prepared for this,” said Suzan Clemens, field representative for American Red Cross, in the Sept. 12, 2001, publication. “The University really jumped in.”

One student, hearing the news about 9/11 for the first time, said, “Wow.”

“My roommate’s family is from New York, so I tried to get a hold of them for him, but all the phone lines were busy,” said Randy Hill, the student.

While thousands of Mountaineers were left shocked and confused, not all were safe at home.

Tom Witt, WVU associate dean, found himself in Manhattan on the day the towers collapsed.

Witt was at a breakfast meeting with colleagues in a Marriott hotel located between towers one and two of the World Trade Center complex when the planes hit.

“We saw one tower go down to the street and then the second tower,” Witt said in the Sept. 12, 2001, Daily Athenaeum. “We immediately knew the World Trade Center Marriott Hotel where we were having our conference was probably no longer there.”

After 9/11, the Carruth Center offered counseling for students to express their feelings; it even offered its services in the Mountainlair and Lyon Tower.

Eighteen years later, students banded together again in remembrance.

On Tuesday night, the WVU Young Americans for Freedom organization and the WVU College Republicans held the “9/11 Never Forget Project” at Woodburn Circle. Members planted American flags to honor the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

“We’re planting the flags so they’ll be up all day tomorrow, so as people walk by they’ll remember the lives that were taken in the 9/11 attacks,” said Kathryn Brooks, founder and vice chair of WVU YAF.

Jaron Bragg, YAF’s chair, said not enough people remember the impact of 9/11.

“It’s crazy that 18 years ago, we lost 2,977 people and many people seem to forget about that,” he said. “This is to remember the victims and the lives they gave for our country.”

“It would be nice to see more things like this,” he said. “It’s very nonpartisan. We are just out here remembering Americans who lost their lives, and, to me, there is nothing political about it.”

Alongside many YAF members were members of the WVU College Republicans.

“I don’t think this boils down to left versus right,” said Jillian Kinder, a senior and former WVU Federation of College Republicans chairperson. “It boils down to patriotism, the love for our country and being proud of our country.”

On Wednesday, WVU ROTC cadets stood guard over a 9/11 memorial wreath outside of the downtown campus library. Every year on 9/11, cadets rotated shifts, guarding the wreath for 24 hours.

Correction: A former version of this article said Jillian Kinder was the former chairperson for WVUCR. This is incorrect. Kinder was the former chairperson for the WVU Federation of College Republicans.