TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Healing Field has returned to Tempe for its ninth year.
More than 200 volunteers gathered at Tempe Beach Park Sunday to plant nearly 3,000 flags -- one for each victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in 2001.
Two memorial events are scheduled for Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the attacks. First is a commemorative ceremony at 5:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the first World Trade Center tower. A candlelight vigil featuring a keynote address by former NYPD Officer Joseph Lutrario, one of the first responders that day, will be held at 7 p.m.
Healing Field is the nation's longest-running Sept. 11, 2001 tribute event, where one American flag is flown for each of the 2,996 civilians, military members and first responders died as a result of the terrorist attacks on our nation. The public is invited to join neighbors, community leaders and public safety officers in a walk of remembrance through the flags.
"Eleven years have passed since the terrible attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and we are still saddened by the events of that morning," said Mayor Mark Mitchell in a news release. "Tempe is honored to be part of this unique event that gives community members the opportunity to remember those who lost their lives and reflect on the freedom we share as citizens of this great nation."
Boots on the Ground also returns as part of this year's memorial. The flags recognizing the nearly 70 veterans who died at the Pentagon or on Flight 77 will feature a pair of combat boots at the base of each flagpole. The boots have been collected from various service men and women from across the nation to honor these victims.
In addition to the events on Tuesday, there will be a free memorial concert held Monday at 6 p.m. The American Red Cross will host a blood drive at Tempe Beach Park on Monday, 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 11, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. To make an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org and use "ExchangeTempe" as the sponsor code. Walk-in donors are welcome.
Tempe Beach Park is located at Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway.