RIO RANCHO, N.M. — A corner of the Vista Verde Memorial Park will become a sea of flags Friday morning in remembrance of the thousands who lost their lives in the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.
The flag placement at 6:30 a.m. on Friday is the first of three events that will be held over the coming days at the cemetery located at 4310 Sara Road SE in Rio Rancho.
Volunteers from Daniels Family Funeral Services and the local community will place tiny U.S. flags as well as white flags with the outline of a dove in the ground around a sculpture of the Twin Towers that stands in the Public Servants Garden.
Across each of the 2,998 dove images is the name of someone who died in the Twin Towers handwritten by volunteers from St. Pius High School and the Children’s Fund of New Mexico, said Joan Stasi, services coordinator for Daniels.
The flag ceremony is in its fifth year. This time there will be a reading of a letter of commendation from former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and a resolution from the commissioners of Somerset County, Penn., where a plane hijacked by one of the attackers crashed, killing all aboard.
Paul Daniels, a member of the Daniels family, will announce a $1,000 scholarship for high school seniors in Rio Rancho that will be awarded for an essay based on a 9/11 theme.
On Saturday, there will be a motorcycle run from the Garcia Mortuary in Downtown Albuquerque to Vista Verde. Among the riders will be a specially adapted motorcycle hearse that will carry a flag-draped empty casket to honor firefighters and police who served on Sept. 11.
The ride will leave Garcia Mortuary at 2:30 p.m. and reach Vista Verde about 30 minutes later. Last year 92 riders participated.
On Tuesday there will be a 6 p.m. memorial service with patriotic music by bands from Rio Rancho and Cleveland high schools. Stasi said they expect about 1,000 people to attend.