As the fourteenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, ROTC Bobcat Battalion commemorates those who have fought and fallen through a 2,071 stair step challenge at Peden Stadium.
Organized by Rebecca Drakulic, a junior studying criminology at Ohio University, the event will take place at 6 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 11. This will be Drakulic’s first Battalion event, supported and sponsored by the University’s ROTC program.
The morning will kick-off with a small opening ceremony that will honor 9/11 victims, present the colors of the National Anthem and offer a moment of silence. The running of the stairs will follow the ceremony- 2,071 steps, the same number formerly in the World Trade Center. The entire Bobcat Battalion, composed of over 130 students, will be participating in the stair challenge and community members and other students are encouraged to join.
In its first year, the planning of the event was a learning experience for the battalion. Months of organization and brainstorming brought about the final product- a cost-free, metaphorical activity to honor the American tragedy. The Battalion hopes to work out this year’s kinks and turn the event into a fundraising opportunity for the Fisher House Foundation.
The Fisher House Foundation is an organization that helps to accommodate lodging for veterans and military families receiving medical treatment at little to no cost. The Bobcat Battalion currently has a fund with the Fisher House and will be accepting donations at the event.
“I heard about this event from a flyer around campus and I think it is a really great idea to have something honoring 9/11. I will definitely try to participate and get my friends to come, as well,” said Alex Cramer, a freshman studying political science at Ohio University.
“We realized that there weren’t many options for memorial of 9/11 last year, and we said hey why not? It’s a really important event in American history, there are a lot of veterans on campus and people who would enjoy having a memorial,” Drakulic said.
The Peden stair challenge will be the first event hosted by the Bobcat Batallion to allow ROTC students, faculty and citizens of Athens a chance to come together and collectively commemorate 9/11.