How Penn State Remembered 9/11 Attacks

Story posted September 12, 2021 in CommRadio, News by Emily McGlynn

September 11, 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon and an open field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Today, Americans remember the horrific acts, mourn the 3,000 casualties and their families, and how to not take life for granted.

This year, 9/11 landed on a Saturday. Saturdays are when college football games occur. Penn State University and many other colleges remembered those events in different ways. Penn State did several things to honor those people and to unite all fans together.

Firstly, on Thursday, Penn State placed 2,977 American flags on Old Main’s lawn to commemorate all of the lives taken that day. Reported by Penn State’s Instagram page, the event was hosted by the Penn State College Republicans and they welcomed all students to participate.

Secondly, a large American flag was draped over the Old Main Building to also recognize the tragic events.
On Saturday, before the football game and during halftime, Penn State did many things to tribute the 9/11 families.

The whole stadium, which was the first time back in a full capacity Beaver Stadium since 2019, had a moment of silence to reflect on those events. Then, they had the Blue Band play the national anthem that the whole crowd joined in on. Once they were done singing, two United States helicopters flew over the stadium. 

Kim Maldonado, a second-year majoring in political science, had this to say about her experience at the game, “I really liked how they honored the troops that flew the helicopters over the stadium. The energy that the crowd brought was amazing, especially when we were all chanting ‘USA.’” 

Patrick Dwyer, a former Penn State Football student, worked on the 105th floor of the North Tower when the first airplane crashed. His wife and now grown children came to the game and we cheered for their bravery and for their loved one. Penn State played a video about Dwyer regarding his character, his impact and his accomplishments at Penn State and elsewhere. 

Matt McCormick, a fourth-year majoring in hospitality, said, “The most impactful moment was when the family of Patrick Dwyer came out to the game to honor and remember him. It was interesting to see Penn State alumni and how the bond of Penn State stays for a long period of time. We are Penn State strong.”

Finally, during halftime of the game, the Blue Band put together a special performance to pay respect to families and friends. They shaped themselves to spell ‘NYC,’ the pentagon and the field in Shanksville. They played classic American songs and the crowd joined in.

These are all of the things done by Penn State to remember the 9/11 attacks and to honor families and friends affected.


Emily McGlynn is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email her at