ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — Communities across the nation and right here in West Michigan are reflecting on 9/11 and honoring the lives lost on that day 20 years ago. 

“As a citizen of the U.S. it’s important to learn about the entire history here,” said Grand Valley State University Student Emma Suchecki. “It’s also important to … never forget about these things, to know why people why people put their lives on the line, to know why people choose to serve our country.”

Suchecki was one of the organizers of the GVSU 9/11 Flag Memorial. The tribute is hosted every year by the university’s Student Senate to remember the victims who died as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks. Nearly 3,000 flags were placed on the East lawn of the Kirkhof Center by a group of students early Saturday morning. 

“It’s kind of heartbreaking to see and kind of place a life with each of these flags and to kind of almost internalize the idea of the flag as a human being who had a life just like mine, who might have went to college just like I do.” Suchecki said. “Who might have just been going to work just as we all do Monday through Friday and that person is no longer here due to this awful, awful thing that happened.”

She added that it’s important for Americans to learn about the entire history of the U.S. — both good and bad — and to understand why people put the lives on the line for their country. 

“I hope they look at every single one of these flags and remember that those people have families that are still around today who deserve to be honored in a way for the family member that gave the ultimate sacrifice,” she said.