Flags commemorating victims of 9/11 (Photo courtesy of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville)

Students at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville planted 2,977 flags on campus in memory of the victims of the 2001 terrorist attack.

It’s an annual effort by the group Young Americans for Freedom, and takes place at campuses nationwide.

Most schools marked the day in some way, whether by painting a rock to remind people to pause and reflect — as at Michigan State University — or  with somber memorials. At Fordham University, many members of the community lost someone they cared about that day, including a professor whose son died who wrote a letter in the days after the attack calling on U.S. leaders not to seek military reprisals against people in Afghanistan. At George Washington University, people laid wreaths and held a moment of silence while bells tolled.

In Knoxville, it took about two and a half hours to place all the flags.

“It’s important to me because so few college students have memories of 9/11, including myself,” Meredith Maroney, one of the students leading the project wrote in an e-mail. “(I was in kindergarten and remember it vaguely), so I think the 9/11 Never Forget Project is a way for college students across the country to unite and remember those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack.

“It gives a visual for the story. Every flag we planted represents a life lost. It was very emotional to place the flags. Each person who passed had loved ones who miss him/ her everyday, so the 9/11 Never Forget Project was the least we could do to honor those who have passed.”