Alan Blume, an Iraq War veteran, and three other military men sat in the field of flags for hours on 9/11. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -
America paid a somber remembrance on the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In Tempe, nearly 3,000 flags planted in a Healing Field, each with a name card, pay tribute to each victim who died in the Twin Towers.
Every person who comes to see the Healing Field reflects in his or her own personal way.
"We're just taking care of our brother's boots," Alan Blume, an Iraq War veteran, said.
Blume and three other military men sat in the field of flags for hours on 9/11. They sat and shined the boots of fallen brothers who died in the terror attacks.
"I just came by this morning and noticed [the boots] were looking a little rough, so I had some extra polish in my car and decided to clean up a pair. It turned into two pair, three pairs," Blume said. He talked while spit-polishing a black combat boot to Army dress code specs in the fading sunlight at Tempe Beach Park Friday evening.
"You see everybody here who has a set of boots next to their flag is military personnel, a veteran, who was killed in 9/11," he said.
The attacks sent Blume to Iraq with the Army in 2003 and 2004. He spent most of his time on the front lines of war-ravaged Fallujah.
The nearly 3,000 names in the Healing Field are what he fought for.
"Fourteen years later, it starts to fade from people's memory, what happened that day," he said. "So, it's good to see people come out and honor and remember the loss and care. It's nice."
Some people like to weave through the flags, taking in the enormity of the loss. Others read the names. But Blume and his cohorts kept shining boots.
"It's therapeutic," he said. "I’ve got my own issues, diagnosed with PTSD, and it's therapeutic. I've met a lot of great people out here, veterans, and it's been great to just talk to people about it."
The night wrapped up with a candlelight vigil. The memorial will stay up through the weekend.
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