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Volunteers again plant flags at Vista Verde Memorial Park

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — In anticipation of Sept. 11, volunteers planted thousands of tiny flags at Vista Verde Memorial Park early Friday morning to honor those who lost their lives 13 years ago in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

The sun was barely up when the flag planting began and at 6:46 a.m. – which is 8:46 a.m. in New York – a state police officer played taps.

It was timed to be at the exact moment on September 11 in 2001 that the first of two planes piloted by terrorists struck the iconic Twin Towers.

TORRILLO: Was buried alive twice on 9/11

TORRILLO: Was buried alive twice on 9/11

Daniels Family Funeral Services has organized the 9/11 ceremony at the cemetery in Rio Rancho each year since 2009.

Daniels will also remember the day with a barbecue for police, fire, rescue and military personnel from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday at Vista Verde Memorial Park.

Following the barbecue, there will be a memorial service in the Public Servants Garden, with a bagpiper and a release of doves.

Retired New York firefighter Lt. Joe Torrillo will be the guest speaker at the memorial service.

Torrillo was on his way to a news conference on that fateful day when the first airliner struck the south tower of the World Trade Center.

He borrowed firefighting gear and joined in the rescue effort.

He was buried alive when each tower collapsed, rescued and survived to become a motivational speaker, according to his website,