ANN ARBOR (WWJ)  – In Ann Arbor, University of Michigan students displayed 2,977 American flags on Friday — one for each victim of the terrorist attacks that shook America on September 11th, 14 years ago.

Josh Smith, a U-M sophomore who was just a small child in 2001, was one of the many students who paused in the Diag to remember.

“We were walking by and I noticed the flags and stopped,” Smith said. “It was somber day for everybody, so we remember that.”

Grant Stroble, with the group “Young Americans for Freedom,” helped to place the tiny flags in the grass in the shadow of the biggest U.S. flag on campus.

He, like many of his fellow students, is barely old enough to recall that tragic day.

“That’s one of my first memories, actually,” Stroble told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell. “I was home from half-day kindergarten and I watched my mom tearing up watching the news coverage. I remember me and my mom making construction paper American flag ribbons.”

“Nine-eleven left some very powerful memories,” added Sophomore Sam Lawrence, who wasn’t even in preschool yet at the time. “I was very little, but I just still really remember my mother crying in my dad’s arms.”

Campus police officer Gary Bell stops by the display every year.

“It’s very solemn,” he said. “I’ve been a police officer with the university for 15 years now, but before I came to work here I was a military policeman in the Army for 20 years, and I retired from the Army nine months before 9-11.”

Elsewhere in the state, a 500-pound steel beam from the World Trade Center will be on display was on display Benton Harbor. The beam will be permanently displayed next to the Benton Harbor library. Two firefighters from Niles Township drove to New York to bring the artifact to southwest Michigan.

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