WVU, Fans Remember 9/11 - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU, Fans Remember 9/11

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MORGANTOWN -

Driving to the stadium yesterday to shoot Tales from the Tailgates, my eye was caught by a large, bright sign with both WVU and USA aspects to it. I knew as soon as I got into the lots, I would head that way to get a better look.

And I'm glad I did.  

The sign, a tribute to the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, read, "Mountaineers Will Never Forget."

It was designed by WVU students Palmer Brown and Beth McMahon as they sat together in a statistics class on campus. While Brown's mind wandered from the subject at hand, his thoughts turned to the upcoming anniversary and he decided he wanted to make a special sign to display during Saturday's game.

Their design incorporated the university's flying WV logo in a way Brown remembers seeing at the Fiesta Bowl in 2008 and with the help of McMahon and another friend, Staci Reuss, they put the whole thing together extremely well.

"We were all affected by 9/11 and we wanted to do something that would show how patriotic we are, but we also wanted to put a good face on West Virginia," said Brown, decked out in USA garb.

Brown made sure he got himself a good seat at the game and in doing so, he was allowed to drape the sign over the wall so that it hung for everyone to see. It stood out and for all the right reasons on a day in which WVU paid special tribute to victims of the attacks, first responders and military personnel.

"When you have 60,000 people in a stadium, if we can put something up like this and just make people think about it – it's already on everybody's minds, but just to bring everyone together for one cause is good," says Brown.

One of those who Brown hoped to recognize with his work was Chris Gray, the former WVU quarterback who lost his life that day. Gray was an honorary captain at the game Saturday and his brother, Tim, represented him on the field.

"Everyone sort of defines themselves in some way and I'll tell you for Chris, being a Mountaineer was something he always carried with him and when he was in New York it was always West Virginia – he was a Mountaineer," Tim says of his brother. "I think to be here and to have him honored here is such a generous gift from the university and something he would be thrilled about."

Also honored at the game were members of the 201st Field Artillery, recently back home in West Virginia from a stay in Kuwait. They lined the front of the Mountaineer Mantrip pregame walk to greet the team first as it got off the bus, real life heroes shaking hands with heroes on the field.

"We walk through the crowd and everyone thanks us and is very appreciative and we love what we do," says First Sergeant Nick Lambruno. "We love the Mountaineers, so they allowed us to be first in line to meet the team, so that's pretty cool."

Throughout the nation Saturday, moments of silence were observed and chants of "U-S-A" filled college stadiums, as will be the case in NFL arenas today.

When the people of this nation said they would never forget, they meant it. Whether through words or actions or even a hand-painted sign at a football game – we never will forget.

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