Sept. 11 vigil to honor soldiers killed in war

By Rebecca Sweeney

Six years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the UK chapter of a military organization is hosting a vigil honoring those killed during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Sept. 11 is an important day for everybody,” said Cadet Jessica Essing, organizer of the event and a secondary English education sophomore.

The Pershing Rifles, which is made up of UK Reserve Officer Training Corps members, is hosting the event that begins at 7 a.m. today in the field in front of the Main Building.

UK is home to Company C-1 of the Pershing Rifles, one of 17 regiments in the country. The Pershing Rifles, a military organization sponsored by Army ROTC, is comprised of cadets from both Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC.

“At a time of war, it’s important to have a day of remembrance and reflection,” Essing said.

A flag raising and Reveille ceremony — the bugle call most often associated with waking military personnel at sunrise — will begin the vigil at 7 a.m.

“Nearly 4,000 flags will cover Administration Field to represent the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Essing said.

The vigil will continue until 6 p.m. with ceremonial guard with flags and rifles at the funeral march.

ROTC members will read names of fallen servicemen and women, and a changing of the guard will occur at the top of every hour.

The final watch is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by the retreat and flag-lowering at 7 p.m.

A 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps by American Legion, an organization of veterans of U.S. armed forces who served in wartime, will follow the flag lowering.

Essing hopes the vigil will become an annual event, she said.

“We’re trying to do more community service,” Essing said. “This is a starting point.”