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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took the lives of 2,977 American people. At UF, the Young Americans for Freedom chapter plans to commemorate the lives lost to radical terrorism through the 9/11: Never Forget Project — a nationwide student activism project.

The importance of this year’s anniversary cannot be understated — this year's freshman class was not even born when 9/11 happened. I, as a sophomore, was born six months after the attacks had happened, only knowing the horror stories from my parents of that tragic day in American history.

This year we have seen the increasing instability in Afghanistan with the overthrow of the democratic Afghan government by the Taliban and its allies. The vacuum left behind will allow terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to find new strongholds in the Middle East, making another terrorist attack a very real possibility.

These were groups the U.S. set out to destroy in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and whose revival puts the Americans still in Afghanistan at risk of attack. The Taliban helped to harbor al-Qaeda in 1999; al-Qaeda even pledged their allegiance to the Taliban.

President Joe Biden’s hasty withdrawal is nothing less than an insult to the troops who served, the tens of thousands of Afghans who fought alongside us and those who lost their lives on 9/11.

Since 2003, Young America’s Foundation has planted more than 12 million flags through this project. We will do the same here at UF. As in years past, students will be able to find our display on the Plaza of the Americas Saturday, Sept. 11.

We encourage all students to take a moment out of their day to pass by the display, plant a flag in the ground and give a moment of silence to all those who passed that day. It is up to us to make sure our generation will #neverforget.

Alexander Munguia, Chairman of Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Florida

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