Tempe Beach Park's Healing Field remembers 9/11 victims

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By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy
By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy
By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy

TEMPE -- Nearly 3,000 American flags have been placed throughout Tempe Beach Park to create the Healing Field, a memorial to remember and honor those who died during the September 11 terrorist attacks 12 years ago.

The Healing Field is open Tuesday, Sept. 10 through Saturday, Sept. 14. Visitors can attend the memorial during Tempe Beach Park hours from 5:00 a.m.to 11:00 p.m.

This is the 10th year that the City of Tempe and Tempe Exchange Club have created the Healing Field. It takes about 400 volunteers to help set up the memorial.

“It’s just an amazing community event and it’s just such a good feeling to be able to give back to those who have served and those who we lost on 9/11,” said Nick Bastian, a fourth-year volunteer.

Each flag has a name tag and ribbon, and represents somebody who died in the 9/11 attack. Yellow ribbons will signify first responders and their flags will border the entire memorial area as a way to show they are still protecting those they were trying to save on September 11. Soldiers who died will have a combat boot below their American flags, and flight crew members will have blue ribbons.

Deborah Volpe, a volunteer for five years, is a flight attendant and helps put up the blue ribbons on flags located on the main aisle of Healing Field.

“I’m a flight attendant and on September 11, the very first people that were murdered that day were flight crews. And flight attendants were the first ones that died,” Volpe said. “This is a very painful day for us to remember our coworkers; they’re heroes in our eyes. And we’re here putting up the flags because they can’t.”

Events will be held at Tempe Beach Park’s Healing Field to honor those who died:

-Tuesday, Sept. 10 – Freedom Concert; 6:30 p.m.
A free concert featuring patriotic musical performances from Tempe-area school-age children.

-Wednesday, Sept. 11 – Memorial Ceremony; 5:46 a.m.
A memorial service which includes the reading of the names of the first responders (Police, Fire and Port Authority) will begin at 5:46 a.m. This is the Arizona time when the first plane struck Tower One.

-Wednesday, Sept. 11 – Candlelight Vigil; 7:00 p.m.
A candlelight vigil honoring the 2,996 victims of 9/11 will be held at 7 p.m. It will include a keynote speech from “The Saluting Marine” SSGT Tim Chambers (Ret).

-Tuesday, Sept. 10 from 7 a.m.- 12 p.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 11 from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 13 from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.- American Red Cross blood drive
The American Red Cross will be hosting several blood drives at Tempe Beach Park. To schedule an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org and use “ExchangeTempe” as the sponsor code or call 520.230.7295. Walk-in donors are also welcome.

For more information on Healing Field, visit www.tempe.gov/healingfield.