The University of Mississippi ROTC will host the seventh annual 9/11 Memorial Run on Monday to honor victims of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks and the first responders who came to their aid.
The race will begin at 5:30 a.m. at the Lyceum steps and follow a 2-mile course through the Square and back. Students, faculty and members of the Oxford community are all encouraged to participate.
Even though some students may not be able to remember the events of 9/11, memorial organizers hope participants and community members will continue to honor the victims.
“The phrase ‘Never Forget’ was the motto of 9/11, but we’ve moved away from that in today’s world,” Cadet S3 Operations Manager Daniel Lorbecke said. “That day was a day that brought everyone together, and that’s what we plan to remind everyone from all generations today.
The run began as an event among ROTC members in 2009 and branched out to include the entire community in 2010. The event has seen steady growth in the years since.
This year, race coordinators worked to implement new elements to bring in more community members.
“We have coordinated well with our new colonel to include the emergency personnel and other members of the community by advertising with different departments, having a display of 3,000 flags and commemorative T-shirts to push a community-based run,” Public Affairs Officer Christian Sanchez said.
In addition to students and community members, ROTC members of every branch will participate.
“The university’s Army, Marine, Air Force, and Navy ROTC programs host the event,” Scott Caldwell, recruiting operations officer for the university’s Army ROTC, said. “Ole Miss is one of the few universities where all four branches of military service are represented on campus.”
This year, Olympic medalist Sam Kendricks is participating in the run. Kendricks is an Ole Miss alumnus who won a gold medal at the 2017 World Championship in London and a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Other participants are interested in running because of the race’s message.
“When we look at 9/11, we are reminded that freedom isn’t free, and it makes us more appreciative as Americans,” participant Joe Eubanks said. “It’s a humbling thought to be able to honor that in this run.”