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4:48 PM Wed, Nov. 14th

Fallen are honored at Healing Field 9/11 ceremony

Phillip Whitehead, far right, commander of American Legion Post 140, holds a salute as veteran Gary Sheldon leads the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance Sept. 11 at Prescott Valley Healing Field, as the Central Arizona Honor Guard and Pipes & Drums stand in front of the stage. (Sue Tone/Courier)

Phillip Whitehead, far right, commander of American Legion Post 140, holds a salute as veteran Gary Sheldon leads the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance Sept. 11 at Prescott Valley Healing Field, as the Central Arizona Honor Guard and Pipes & Drums stand in front of the stage. (Sue Tone/Courier)

This year’s balmy dusk weather at the Prescott Valley Civic Center, Sept. 11, was a perfect bookend to the sunny morning in Manhattan 17 years ago — except for the fact that nearly 4,000 individuals, including 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, are no longer with us.

The Prescott Valley community gathered together Tuesday evening to pay respects to the victims and first responders of the attack on the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001.

In addition to the flags representing the victims of 9/11, the display includes 19 more that honor the Granite Mountain Hotshots lost on June 30, 2013.

State Sen. Karen Fann gave the opening remarks. After the invocation, the Central Arizona Honor Guard and Pipes & Drums marched solemnly to the front of the Theater on the Green stage. Trumpeter Jesse McGuire gave a flawless and moving rendition of the National Anthem that echoed across the expanse of the Civic Center’s green lawn.

Keynote speaker Judith Andrews, an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Liberty Traditional School, told of her experience on 9/11 as principal of a New Jersey school located 45 minutes from New York City.

“When it happened, there was no plan for that 17 years ago,” Andrews said. She found it challenging to explain what happened to her students.

Today, she says her students tell her they weren’t even born in 2001. She’s grateful to have the Healing Fields nearby for her students to experience.

“It’s our job as educators to teach them. These children can walk through the flags, touch the flags. They see the boots and read the tags,” she said.

As the American flag rolled down from the top of the Civic Center, the lights came on to illuminate the smaller flags of this year’s Healing Field.

Follow Sue Tone on Twitter @ToneNotes. Reach her at stone@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.