18 years later, Wichita State remembers victims of 9/11  

Director+of+Military+and+Veteran+Services%2C+Lt.+Col.+Larry+Burks%2C+greets+Wichita+Police+Department+Deputy+Chief+Anna+Hatter+before+the++9+%2F11+Memorial+Observance.+Wichita+State+hosted+the+event+at+the+CAC+Theater.
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18 years later, Wichita State remembers victims of 9/11  

Director of Military and Veteran Services, Lt. Col. Larry Burks, greets Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Anna Hatter before the  9 /11 Memorial Observance. Wichita State hosted the event at the CAC Theater.

Director of Military and Veteran Services, Lt. Col. Larry Burks, greets Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Anna Hatter before the 9 /11 Memorial Observance. Wichita State hosted the event at the CAC Theater.

Khánh Nguyễn

Director of Military and Veteran Services, Lt. Col. Larry Burks, greets Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Anna Hatter before the 9 /11 Memorial Observance. Wichita State hosted the event at the CAC Theater.

Khánh Nguyễn

Khánh Nguyễn

Director of Military and Veteran Services, Lt. Col. Larry Burks, greets Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Anna Hatter before the 9 /11 Memorial Observance. Wichita State hosted the event at the CAC Theater.

Wichita State hosted a 9/11 memorial ceremony Wednesday at the CAC Theater. 

The event was coordinated by retired Lt. Col. Larry Burks, director of Military and Veteran Services. 

“We have a whole generation of students who don’t remember 2001,” Burks said. “We have freshman and sophomore students who were born in 2001, and they have lived their entire life affected by the impact of 9/11.”

Other speakers included Mayor Jeff Longwell, Wichita Fire Chief Tammy Snow, Wichita Police Deputy Chief Anna Hatter, and Student Body President Kitrina Miller. 

Miller said she was only 3-years-old on 9/11 and has no personal memories from the day. 

“I only know what my parents have told me,” she said. 

On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four U.S. commercial airplanes in Boston. Two of the planes hit the World Trade Center in New York City. Another crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth plane crashed just outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

The 9/11 attacks were the single deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history. Victims of the attacks are memorialized annually at ceremonies across the nation. 

The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and injured about 6,000 more. 

That included 264 people on the four passenger planes, 2,606 at the World Trade Center, and 125 at the Pentagon. Most of those who perished were civilians, except for 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers, said Burks. 

Snow said Wichita sent firefighters to New York in the aftermath of 9/11. But many of the new hires and recruits don’t understand the context fully, she said, because they’re too young. 

“We can actually hire people who weren’t even born that day. I think one of the biggest things is actually remembering — telling history,” Snow said.

“The sacrifices that first responders and firefighters made that day — it’s in their blood,” she said. “Others are running out, and they’re running in to sacrifice their own lives to try to be of help.”

Beyond the death toll from that day, many went on to fight — and die — in one of the longest military conflicts in U.S. history. 

First responders continue to pay a heavy price. Many first responders who survived after working the scene faced long-term illness from the toxins in the rubble at Ground Zero.

Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs reported in 2018 that between 480,000 and 507,000 people have been killed in the United States’ post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. 

That number includes U.S. military personnel, contractors, and journalists, as well as military, police, and civilians from those three countries.

Sam Jones, military and veteran benefits coordinator at WSU, said it’s important to remember that this nation is the United States of America. 

“We gather in unity and dignity to honor the freedoms that we have fought for in the past — the freedoms our loved ones have died for and those freedoms that we continue to fight for today,” Jones said. “Remembering that day is not a choice, but our solemn obligation.”