November 15, 2018

VIDEO: Webster Student Tyler Holman Collects Thousands of Flags to Honor 9/11 Victims

By Audra DeMariano

Tyler Holman’s 3,000 flags made several Webster students upset when they were seen outlining the campus the morning Osama Bin Laden was killed. One group took the flags and spelled, “Give Peace a Chance.” They argued that the flags celebrated the assassination. Another group of students stole and destroyed almost a hundred of them over-night.

The flag controversy is something Holman beleives shouldn’t have been an issue at all. The act was simply an effort to remember the fallen victims of 9/11. On this year’s 10th anniversay of the September 11th attacks, Holman’s flags will make another appearance.

Webster Alumni Ryan Alban plants flags on Webster Groves campus. PHOTO BY SARAH RUSNAK/The Journal

Honoring Alumnis in Uniform and 9/11’s Victims

Holman and his friend Ryan Alban purchased close to 3,000 flags a few years ago in order to carry out a tradition of honoring those 2,700 who died in the World Trade Center. The friends planned on placing the flags around campus every year as a memorial of those victims.

Holman is planning to set up the flags on the 10th to also honor nearly 25,000 Webster University Alumniwho serve in active duty across the nation. “I feel it’s important for a lot of Webster students to realize that many alumnis are in active duty. Some of them are getting their degrees and then going off to fight for our country in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Holman.

[pullquote align=”center”]”I feel it’s important for a lot of Webster students to realize that many alumnis are in active duty. Some of them are getting their degrees and then going off to fight for our country in Afghanistan and Iraq,”[/pullquote]

Holman plans to get as many students and faculty possible to plant the miniature flags the night before September 11th. He hopes that the almost 3 hour process can be made shorter in time and more powerful by including anyone willing to help.

A Hometown Tradition For More than a Decade

The concept of placing flags up for memorials has been a tradition for Holman since he was a kid growing up in Jackson, MO. A vast majority of the town is populated with WWII and Korean War veterans who have planted flags for every national holiday throughout the years.

Holman volunteered as a child to plant the flags with his grandfather’s friends on special holidays. This act was not only a way to show patriotism, but also a way to learn about the grandfather he never met.

“My grandfather’s friends were able to tell me stories about my grandfather’s WWII service and see me grow up. It taught me that whenever something significant happened, we could show our appreciation for our country and for our armed services.”

The World Trade Center Goes Down and a Generation is Shaped

The question “Where were you when 9/11 happened,” is similar to asking where someone was during the Kennedy assassination. These disasters significantly impacted a nation to a point where memory is easy to recall.

Holman recalls sitting in his 6th grade class room when a teacher rolled in a TV so that the class could watch the news. When the TV was taken away, Holman snuck into the teacher’s lounge to watch the events.

“I was just captivated by the images but also confused as to why people would do something like this,” Holman said.

Holman says that 9/11 is the event that made him want to pursue Political Science and also sparked his interest in international relations.

“Even though not all of us may remember where we were when 9/11 happened, it’s forever changed how Americans are perceived in our everyday lives,” Holman said.

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