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OSU places annual flags and dog tags on Library Lawn

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Veterans Day 2022

OSU students, faculty and staff helped put out more than 7,000 flags and corresponding dog tags to remember the fallen after 9/11. 

A total of 7,168 flags stand proudly in Edmond Low’s lawn, a tribute to our veterans. 

These flags, along with the corresponding dog tags, serve as a reminder of the soldiers lost since 9/11.

The Department of Transfer and Student Veteran Success, along with the ROTC, student and community volunteers uniformly placed the flags and dog tags in the lawn. Placing the flags and dog tags is the start to a week of events that recognize veterans for their service and sacrifice.

This display is nationally recognized, as OSU is the only university that creates a display that accurately reflects the number of lives lost. OSU is also unique in the fact that the dog tags are printed with each veteran’s name, branch and how long they served.

Vince Rivera is the veteran success coordinator and has been doing this event since he arrived at OSU.

“It’s a way for us to not only show our student veterans, but our active students who are active duty, our guard and reserve students, our military family members, so their parents might have been in the military, so they’re going to school here using the G.I. bill of some sort, and the Stillwater community how much our veterans mean to us,” Rivera said. “To commemorate that, since I’ve been here, every year we’ve put out these nationally recognized flag displays. It’s 7,168 flags. Each flag represents a military member that we have lost since Operation Enduring Freedom, so in other words, since Sept. 11, 2001.”

The process of placing the flags and dog tags takes two days to complete. American flags were planted in the ground last Thursday and dog tags were placed on Friday.

Members of the Office of Student Veteran Success alongside student and community volunteers, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, dedicated time to this project.

Timothy James Anderson, a first-year student and veteran, placed flags in the ground as it rained last Thursday. He reflected on the experience of honoring the fallen veterans.

“A lot of it is thankful that the ground is soft,” Anderson shared. “But a lot of it is just how many flags we have to put in, kind of makes you somber and feels not great, but also feels great to be part of representing them and just showing that 7,000 looks kind of small when you compare it to the national population, but staring at it to its face, it's humbling and kind of somber.”

The experience of creating the display is personal and full of emotions.

“It’s important to me because I just recently learned about it [the event] from the head downstairs in the Veterans Benefit Center,” Anderson said. “He told the story of families coming up to this and asking for their specific family member’s dog tag and having an answer for that is really special, you know. As far as they [Department of Transfer and Student Veteran Success] can find, they’re the only people that do the research, find a flag for every single military member that has passed away. And each flag represents one of those fallen people. Doing it for them is kind of nice.”

For more information on events and donations, you can visit universitycollege.okstate.edu/transfer-veteran-success/veteran/veteranweek2022