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Healing Field pays tribute to 9/11 victims

Flags to fly in honor of 10th anniversary of terrorist attacks

In the 10 years since our nation was rocked by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that changed America, communities across the country have been holding tributes to the 3,200 lives lost on that day. This time, on the 10th anniversary of the horrific event, the Healing Field comes to West Michigan.
The Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE), local communities and area businesses have teamed up to bring Colonial Flag Foundation’s Healing Field memorial to Cannonsburg Ski Area, 3800 Cannonsburg Rd., Belmont. From September 9-13, 3,200 American flags will fly to honor the victims of the infamous attacks, including the 21 victims from Michigan. The public is invited to walk through the flags on the hills of Cannonsburg Ski Area and attend special programs and events that will be scheduled throughout the five days of the memorial. Events are free to the public and the memorial will be open 24 hours a day.

A Cedar Springs resident helps get flags ready for the healing field.

The West Michigan Healing Field is one of 16 Healing Field memorials that will take place across the country for the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Each three-foot-by-five-foot flag will be placed in perfectly aligned rows as a highly visual way to comprehend the sheer enormity of lives lost in the attacks. Each flag will be tagged with the name, story and age of a victim in the attacks. Members of the community can sponsor a flag for $75, which they can take home with them after the event. All proceeds will benefit first responder organizations as designated by RACE.
“Three thousand American flags together will make an incredible impact,” said Art Johnson, CEO of United Bank and honorary chair of West Michigan Healing Field. “And when you sponsor one of those flags and take it home with you, that will be a different feeling. It’s honoring and remembering that individual whose name is attached to your flag. That’s what families of victims want—for us to remember their loved ones.”
The event is still in need of flag sponsors. To sponsor a flag, please visit www.healingfield.org/west-michigan-2011 and support local first responder organizations. The flags are also available for purchase at all United Bank branches.

Healing Field Event Details:

Friday, September 9, 2011—“A Rise to Glory”
8 a.m. to noon—Volunteers, including approximately 100 Rockford High School students, will be staking 3,200 individual American flags to begin the West Michigan Healing Field memorial. The name of each victim will be read aloud during the “Rise to Glory” ceremony.
Saturday, September 10, 2011—“A Salute to Heroes”
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—“A Salute to Heroes” program will honor rescue personnel and first responders. The community is welcome to come out and support local West Michigan first responders as well as fire and police safety units for their service to our communities.
Sunday, September 11, 2011—“A Day to Remember”
•    8:46 a.m.—A moment of silence commemorating the crash of American Airlines Flight 11
•    9:03 a.m.—A moment of silence commemorating the crash of United Airlines Flight 175
•    9:43 a.m.—A moment of silence commemorating the crash of American Airlines Flight 77
•    10 a.m.—A moment of silence commemorating the crash of United Airlines Flight 93
•    Noon—Rockford American Legion will hold a memorial service honoring and remembering the victims of 9/11.
Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 12-13, 2011—“A Lesson Learned”
Students and field trips are welcome to participate in the 2011 Patriot Day Arts Festival to help them understand and learn from an event that they may not be old enough to remember. Students may use any form of expression to pay tribute to those Americans whose lives were lost. Categories include essays, photographs, visual arts and music compositions. Bagpiper Dave O’Neil will play at sunset each day of the event at approximately 7:30 p.m., Friday through Tuesday.

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