Tucson prepares for presidential visitPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tucsonans lined up early Wednesday morning outside McKale Center on the University of Arizona campus to be among the first to be let in hours later for a memorial service for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting.
The service will feature President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Both will fly into Tucson Wednesday afternoon. They are expected to visit University Medical Center to meet with victims and family members before heading to McKale Center for the service.
The university announced that the event will be open to the public on a "first come, first served" basis. People are being advised that security will be tight -- very similar to what you would expect at an airport. Don't bring laptops, liquids, sharp objects, metal objects but they are advising small cameras will be allowed.
Prior to the doors of McKale opening at 4pm, people are urged to go to the University Mall where they will be able to write messages on a "chain" that will be brought inside McKale during the service.
The school says Arizona Stadium will be available for anyone unable to get inside McKale. There will be a video and audio feed of the service piped into the 57,000-seat stadium.
Classes at the University of Arizona's spring semester were scheduled to begin today, but have been delayed one day. But it is a normal staff and faculty working day on campus, so parking is expected to be difficult. Sun Tran will be running free shuttles to McKale from both El Con and Hi Corbett lots beginning at 2 p.m. The last shuttle will depart for McKale at 5:30 p.m. Buses will return people to their original location following the service.
All Sun Tran buses in Tucson on Wednesday morning are flashing "Together We Thrive" on their digital signs.
And that's the theme of the service: "Together We Thrive: Tucson and America". The university said the service will have music playing as people enter McKale. It will begin with a Native American blessing, followed by a welcome from University of Arizona President Robert Shelton.
After the playing of the national anthem, there will be remarks by a UA student, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, former Arizona Governor and now Homeland Security Secretary Janet Naplitano, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama.
His remarks will be followed by a moment of silence.
Authorities say they expect the event to last about one hour.
The service will be carried live on KMSB Television and streamed live on http://www.fox11az.com