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The Western New Mexico University Office of Veteran Affairs will observe the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a memorial event on campus Saturday, Sept.11, 2021.
“The university invites the community to join us in solemnly remembering the 2,997 lives lost that day in 2001, and also in honoring the 5,448 service members and civilians killed in action during the resulting Global War on Terror,” said USAF Sep. Staff Sergeant Jason Quimby, who manages the WNMU Office of Veteran Affairs.
The event, which will be held in Old James Stadium, starts at 8 a.m. with a presentation of the colors and the national anthem sung by Mariachi Plata de WNMU. It will continue through 11 a.m. with speakers, music and periodical silences in observation of the attack’s most devastating moments.
Giving the keynote address will be 1984 WNMU alumnus J.R. Calkins, who worked on a Type 1 Incident Management Team that mobilized to New York City on September 12, 2001, to assist with search and rescue efforts at ground zero. The members of Van Bateman’s Southwest Incident Management Team were recognized with a USDA Honor Award in 2002.
Nine fallen soldier memorial displays to represent the 90 New Mexicans, who have been lost in the 20 years of conflict since the 9/11 attacks. Provided by Holloman Airforce Base, each memorial will have 10 red and white roses labeled the name, rank and branch of service for each military member.
Three additional displays will represent the National Veterans Foundation’s Stop 22 initiative, which aims to serve U.S. Veterans and their families through crisis management, awareness and health care referrals.
Participants will hear from elected officials, including Rep. Luis Terrazas, Rep. Rebecca Dow, Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and Billy Billings, who will read the Grant County Patriot’s Day proclamation. Community members Dean Bearup, Sarah Guck, Tom Kavanagh and Ed Stevens will each have a role in the ceremony, while Jim Dines, Judy Ruth, The Hi Lo Silvers and Don Spann will provide music.
Other agencies participating in the memorial event include Silver City Police Department, Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Gila Regional Medical Center EMS, Silver City Fire Department, Marine Corps League Gaffney-Oglesby Detachment 1328 and Vietnam Veterans color guard.
Food and drink will be served.