News and Events
Honoring the Heroes of 9/11
For a full schedule of events, visit the 9/11 commemoration page.
Sunday, Sept. 11 marks a decade since the political landscape changed following the attacks on American citizens, and 10 short years since Pepperdine lost one of its own: alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., who perished on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. Paying tribute to the heroism of Burnett, his fellow passengers, and all the innocent victims of 9/11, several events will be held on Pepperdine’s Malibu campus throughout that Sunday, including a special Waves of Flags display, with 2,977 flags honoring those who died on 9/11. The flags will be on display until September 19.
Amid the display of flags on the University’s lawn at Alumni Park, Malibu, Pepperdine will present a reading of the victims’ names beginning at 11 a.m. A total of 20 readers from service, charitable, religious, and professional organizations will join 15 individuals from the Pepperdine community in reading the names. Supporting organizations participating in the reading of the victims’ names include the Rotary Club of Los Angeles, Malibu Chamber of Commerce, Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue, City of Malibu, Crest Associates, Malibu Little League, Navy League of the United States, Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, Pepperdine Center for the Arts, Malibu Optimists, and University Church of Christ.
At 4 p.m., Pepperdine will commemorate the lives of our fallen heroes in an hour-long memorial service that will include remarks by Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, former California Governor Gray Davis, California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, and Burnett’s widow Deena Burnett Bailey.
“We must forever cherish the memory of the innocent victims of the 9/11 attacks. We honor, too, the heroic emergency responders who willingly sacrificed their lives on that fateful day,” says Benton. “Though a decade has passed, we have not forgotten, nor will we ever forget. Our memorial remembrance bears witness to the fact that in honoring the dead, we ensure that the memory of their goodness and righteousness endures.”
Also scheduled is a 1 p.m. viewing of the film United 93 at Elkins Auditorium portraying the heroism of United Flight 93 crew and passengers who fought back against the terrorists; actor Christian Clemenson, who portrayed Burnett, will discuss the film following the screening.
Additionally, the University Church of Christ will host two services on September 11 in Elkins Auditorium, Malibu. "Legacies of Hope and Peace: A gathering to remember Christ's work of hope and peace in those whose lives were changed forever on 9/11" will take place at 8:30 and 11 a.m.
In 2002, Pepperdine established Heroes Garden at one of the highest bluffs of the Malibu campus with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Today, Heroes Garden houses memorial plaques and a tranquil water display, as well as benches for peaceful reflection.
This will be the fourth year that Pepperdine has staged the breathtaking display of flags on its expansive front lawn. The installation of the flags, which will be on display September 9 to 19, was conceived and led by the University's chapter of the College Republicans in 2008 and has become a beloved annual tradition at Pepperdine and for the Malibu community. Every year, dozens of student and alumni volunteers—predominantly the Greek groups, athletes, and student clubs—band together to install the almost-3,000 flags.
“I like to let other people decide what it means to them, but from my perspective, it’s about the Pepperdine community coming together to volunteer and work hard to create a moving display,” says Doug Hurley, director of student activities at Seaver College. “For some reason, it’s a completely different experience to walk through it than to just look at it from a distance. It’s visual…and you can hear the flags quietly snapping in the wind.”
As last year, it is expected that hundreds of motorcyclists will stage the annual Ride to the Flags—a backroads journey from the Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, to the Pepperdine flag display. Last year, actor Gary Sinise led a three-minute remembrance at the flags to remember each of the three terrorist attack locations.
All events are free and open to the public. Heroes Garden, located on a bluff overlooking the central campus and the Pacific, will be open to visitors all day long except from 2 to 2:30 p.m. for a private ceremony. Free parking will be available on campus.
The flags will be on display until September 19. For more information, contact the Public Relations office at (310) 506-4138 or visit the Pepperdine 9/11 Commemoration website.