The flags on the lawn outside of campus

Students place 2,977 American flags on display representing the lives lost over 20 years ago on 9/11

Georgia Highlands College (GHC) faculty, staff and students placed 2,977 flags on the college’s Cartersville site this week in remembrance of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. 

Several Veterans Affairs work-study students and the Student Veterans of America Club, as well as students in Rachel Wall’s American Literature class helped with the flags. 

Students placing the flags

“Some of our students may not have been born or were too young to remember when this tragic event took place,” Veterans Affair Coordinator Amy Wise said. “It is important to remember the families that still miss loved ones – and how this significant event impacted our nation forever.” 

The annual flag placement began in 2013 in collaboration with the GHC College Conservatives student organization as part of the “9/11: Never Forget Project.” 

One participant in the flag placement was Deilan Estrada of Cartersville. Estrada is a Navy veteran pursuing a degree in biology.

“I want to honor the people and their families that fell on that day. It is a tragedy and a reminder that anything unexpected could happen to any of us,” Estrada said. “It is also the sacrifices that were made that day and onward that need to be remembered as well.” 

Students placing the flags

Estrada joined the Navy Reserves as a Gunner’s Mate in 2015 after high school, and most of his naval career was within the expeditionary community. For example, he was deployed to the Horn of Africa in 2019-2020 and was a crewman-engineer on the small boats with the mission to protect and escort high-value assets in and out of port. 

“Then later, I joined the Naval Cargo Battalion where I finally boarded a ship to handle cargo and finish up my contract with a bang,” Estrada said. 

He says his experience as a student veteran at GHC has been very positive.  

“The professors here are so caring. They will go above and beyond to improve their teaching methods as well as ensure students succeed in their course,” Estrada said. “I was blessed with opportunities that would not have occurred if I had not attended Highlands.” 

Estrada, who is also a work-study student, has presented research at GHC’s Academic Showcase, the Association of Southeastern Biologists and is the president of the Green Highlands student organization. 

The flags will remain displayed until Tuesday, September 13.