9/11 Healing Field returns to Tempe Beach Park for 11th year

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Volunteers spent the morning planting thousands of American flags at Tempe Beach Park on the eve of Sept. 11. They put together the nation's longest, consecutive-running 9/11 Memorial Healing Field, which is designed to remember and honor those who died in the Sept. 11 terror attacks 13 years ago.

This is the 11th annual Healing Field tribute in Tempe.

Hundreds of volunteers gathered before dawn to start work. It only takes about two hours to install the flags. Everyone who participates says it is time very well spent.

"It’s kind of organized chaos," Mark Poisson of the Exchange Club of Tempe said. "But you see it works."

"It's a great honor," one volunteer who serves in the Army said. "It reminds us of our duty and what we're doing for our country, why we're this as our careers."

"If you've never been down here, you're really missing out on a great 9/11 memorial," Poisson added. "We honor everybody who died … ." Each flag is 8 feet tall and carries the name of a person who died in the 9/11 attacks.

"Identified by an attached card listing a name and brief biographical information, each flag honors a person lost when four highjacked airliners slammed into three buildings and field," according to HealingField.org. "The magnitude of the loss, however, is presented by an uplifting and healing panorama of flags flying against the blue of Arizona skies."

This worthwhile endeavor does not come cheap. It costs about $30,000 to put on the Healing Field.

New this year, you have the opportunity to sponsor a specific flag for $100.

"You get to keep the ribbon and the flag that represented that person at the end of Healing Field," Poisson explained.

The Healing Field, presented by the Exchange Club of Tempe and The City of Tempe, will be open for viewing 5 a.m.-11 p.m. daily through Saturday, Sept. 13.

The American Red Cross will host on-site blood drives throughout the event. To make an appointment, visit www.RedCrossBlood.org and use the search term “Exchange Tempe,” or call 520-230-7295. Walk-ups are welcome.

Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. - Community Concert
Thursday, Sept. 11 at 5:46 a.m. - Memorial Ceremony
Thursday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. - Candlelight Vigil