As a tribute to the victims of 9/11, members of Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) planted flags for each victim on the Coe Quad last Sunday morning. 

“It’s something that’s happened every year since 9/11,” said Harriet Fisher ’17, president of BSG. “Other things have happened in the past in addition. There used to be someone who would read aloud the names of every person who died that day. And I think there used to be a campus-wide moment of silence.” 

While BSG’s actions were welcomed within the Bowdoin community, a similar display at Occidental College—a small liberal arts school in Southern California—prompted controversy and vandalism. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, members of the Occidental College Republican Club, who had planted flags on the night of September 10, discovered on September 11 that a number of flags had been ripped from the ground and broken, while others had been stuffed in the trash. Fliers were also found at the memorial. 

“R.I.P. The 2,996 Americans who died in 9/11. R.I.P. the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died during the U.S. invasion for something they didn’t do,” one flier read. 

Despite the outrage on the opposite coast, Fisher said she heard only positive reactions to the 9/11 memorial at Bowdoin. 

“We just had a lot of people who walked by and asked if they could help us, which was really nice,” she said. 

Fisher added that the 9/11 memorial does not have to be the only way that Bowdoin remembers tragedies. 

“I don’t feel like that should be the only type of commemorative public event we host as a campus,” she said. “I think that we would like to look to doing more public installations, public moments of recognition for loss or historic events or things like that.”