Flags return to SOU, this time for 9/11 victims

Southern Oregon University's front lawn is once again covered in miniature flags, this time 2,973 of the star-spangled variety.

The display, representing civilian deaths during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was organized by student veterans Blane Newfield, 25, and Mike Rubin, 26, who took offense at the Iraq Body Count Exhibit memorializing American and Iraqi casualties side by side with red and white flags the last week of April. So they decided to set up an exhibit of their own.

"This is just a memorial to the Americans who lost their lives due to the terrorist attacks in 9/11, and it's for Memorial Day as well," Newfield said. "It's not a retaliation."

About 10 students and community members spent Thursday morning setting up the American flags in spokes around the school's main flagpole, where flags were flying at half staff in honor of a Baker City soldier who was killed in Iraq May 11.

Newfield and Rubin collected more than $1,000 from nine community sponsors to pay for the exhibit.

The display will stay up at least until Wednesday, Newfield said.

— Ashland Daily Tidings

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