ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The U.S. Naval Academy is honoring the lives of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack ahead of the attack’s 18th anniversary Wednesday.

A total of 2,977 flags — one for each victim — now line Stribling Walk on the academy campus. With each flag placed, a life is remembered.

Lt. John Breen of the New York City Fire Department was one of the first responders on the ground that tragic day. Tuesday, he joined midshipmen at the academy, including his nephew, Liam Rock, as they placed the flags.

“I knew some of the people that are behind why the flags are placed, and they were good, good people,” Breen said.

For Rock, while a single flag can’t capture a person’s entire life and sacrifice, it’s a powerful display of the human toll of that fateful day.

“When you say that out loud, and you really visualize it, when you put that flag into the ground it makes it that much more powerful,” he said.

Many of the current midshipmen were very young when the Twin Towers fell, but the meaning of the remembrance ceremony isn’t lost on them.

“I think it’s a great representation of why we’re here and what we’re trying to represent,” said midshipman Emily Warren.

On Wednesday, alternating groups of midshipmen will continually run around the perimeter of campus while carrying an American flag as another memorial to the victims of the attack.

Sean Streicher

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