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Officials to pay tribute to 9/11 at groundbreaking

In tribute to the military servicemen and -women who gave their lives fighting the War on Terror and for all those who lost theirs during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, representatives from USF’s ROTC programs will hold a “moment of remembrance” outside the physical education building (PED) today at 11 a.m.

American flags taken from the World Trade Center site and Pentagon will be flown in the ceremony, and “artifacts of remembrance” will be put on display.

A piece of steel taken from the WTC tower and part of a limestone block from the Pentagon will be included, along with a sample of earth taken near the crash site of United Airlines flight 93.

ROTC students will form a color guard, and assistant biology department professor Kathleen Scott will play “Taps” on the bagpipes in the ceremony.

At the event, USF President Judy Genshaft, Board of Trustees Chair Rhea Law and Congressman Bill Young, R-Fla, will talk about the importance of the military and relevance of the Joint Military Leadership Center as part of a conjoined groundbreaking ceremony.

The $10.37 million center, which is in the early stages of construction located off Maple Drive across from the social science building (SOC), will provide ROTC students with a better understanding of the role each military and government agency plays in war time, said Luis Visot, executive director of the center.

A $6 million federal appropriations bill, which was sponsored by Young, was earmarked for the JMLC.

Construction should be completed in 15 months, Visot said.

When finished, the four-story, 52,000 square foot building will house two auditoriums, each seating about 200 students. Four classrooms will be able to be opened in conjunction with an auditorium to house more than 360 seats.

“We’re trying to provide as much flexibility as we can,” Visot said.

Curriculum instruction will cover leadership development, global understanding, national security, department of defense and military strategy.

“It will give ROTC students additional tools in their toolbox and teach them how to deal with the transformation of the armed services,” Visot said. “But it’s not just for ROTC students, it will be open to anyone.”

According to Visot, plans are underway to offer a minor in National Security Studies.

The intended courses will teach students how the National Security Administration works and the role of the military in conjunction with the federal government.