Chesterton Tribune



CHS flag installation commemorates those lost on 9 11

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After school on Monday, Sept. 10, Chesterton High School (CHS) staff and student volunteers, under the direction of CHS support staff member Mary Beth Whitmer, continued the tradition the O'Keefe family began in 2007 of placing 2,977 small U.S. flags in the grassy area in front of the CHS Stadium along 11th St. Each flag bears the name of a soul lost 17 years ago in the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The flags will be on display until the end of the day. The O'Keefe Family began this tradition the year after the 9/11 tragedies and have continued ever since.

“This year was a little different on the set-up of the flags,” said Whitmer. “We had to place the flags in the afternoon the day before due to the school corporation’s first scheduled eLearning day.” Students and members of the CHS staff were cognizant of the importance of continuing the tradition that our community has come to appreciate in honor of those that lost their lives in the 9/11 event. Students from the Wrestling team, Social Justice League, International Baccalaureate, National Honor Society, as well as many other students helped, along with CHS faculty members Chris Joll, Mitch Nelson, and Whitmer.

History of the Flag Setting Commemoration

Kathleen O’Keefe (2008 CHS Grad) started the first commemoration. She was a charter member of the CHS Conservative Club and was assisted by her sister Colleen (2011 CHS Grad) and other volunteers. They sought donations to purchase the flags and secured permission from school administration. Colleen continued the tradition, coordinating volunteers and working with the school. In 2012, their sister Kasey O’Keefe (2015 CHS Grad) began coordinating the event, recruiting volunteers, getting administration permission, and serving as public relations officer. Several volunteers gave their time and energy to this memorial, including her sister Hayley, who continued the tradition until 2016 when she graduated from CHS.

The flags

There are 2,977 flags placed, each carrying the name of an individual who lost their life in the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001.

Additionally, a Tenth Anniversary commemorative flag, whose red and white strips are made up of the names of each victim of the three attacks, stands between two American flags. Together, these three flags represent the three attack locations: center flag--the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City; right flag--The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; and left flag--the crash of United Airlines flight 93 in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.


Posted 9/11/2018






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