Muskogee high school Senior Blake Simmons wasn't alive in 2001. Yet for two years he and other students have displayed 2997 flags in front of Muskogee High School, each flag symbolizing a life lost on this day 19 years ago.
"I think it's especially important this year and moving forward that we do remember because the students growing up in school never got to experience it," Simmons told News on 6.
Simmons said his high school has a special connection to the day, one that is honored with a single flag for a Muskogee high school alumnus who was lost.
"We have one flag set aside in honor of Ron Milam. He was a major in the army who was killed in the pentagon that day," Simmons explained.
Because of COVID-19 Simmons couldn't organize an in-person ceremony so he and his classmates created a virtual tribute with stories told by 6 Muskogee residents.
"We still learn something new every single year because we hear the stories and perspectives, and I think that's something to still keep going," Simmons said.
Navy veteran Michael Monday said the tribute brings him hope for the future.
"I am hopefully that there are people who are willing to recognize and bring attention to the stuff that we shouldn't forget about," Monday added.
As for other veterans and first responders came to show their respect, Simmons said today is also about so much more.
"It's more of a happy feeling because we're honoring these lives and remembering what they died for,” Simmons explained.
Simmons also said the 9-11 tribute video was so well received that he hopes the school makes it a tradition.
You can watch the full tribute video here.