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New Mexico State University

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September 11 events scheduled at New Mexico State University

Two community events on the New Mexico State University campus, one at sunrise and the other at sundown, will mark the second anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks that took more than 3,000 lives.


st event on Thursday, Sept. 11, will begin on the university's Horseshoe at 6:45 a.m., corresponding to the time at which the first of two hijacked airliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City two years ago. A bell will toll every two seconds - more than 3,000 times - until 8:28 a.m., the time at which the second World Trade Center tower collapsed.

Later, beginning at 7 p.m., a candlelight service at the outdoor patio on the east side of the Corbett Center Student Union will offer music, reflections and a silent vigil.

The public is welcome at both events, which are being organized by NMSU, the Associated Students of NMSU, Dona Ana County and the city of Las Cruces.

The morning event on the Horseshoe will begin with the presentation of colors by an NMSU ROTC color guard. A four-person honor guard, with representatives from local police, fire, military and emergency medical service agencies, will be posted at a garrison flag throughout the ceremony.

A short siren blast will precede and follow the tolling of the bell. The number of bell tolls will approximate the number of people who died in the terrorist attacks, including those in the hijacked airliners that crashed in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, and those in the buildings that were struck, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Music for the candlelight service Thursday evening will be arranged by the NMSU Music Department. The Interfaith Council of Las Cruces will coordinate the reflective remarks that will be presented during the service. The program, expected to last about an hour, will conclude with a silent candlelight vigil and the playing of "Taps."

Candles will be provided or participants may bring their own. Participants also are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and mosquito repellent.

"These events are open to the entire Las Cruces and Dona Ana County community," said Interim President Bill Flores. "We invite anyone who would like to join us in remembrance and reflection to come to either or both events. We also encourage our citizens to participate at similar events being held in our community on September 11."

Paul B. Curry, chairman of the Dona Ana County Board of Commissioners, said the county is proud to participate in the NMSU event. On Sept. 9, the County Commission will proclaim Sept. 11 to be "Commemoration Day" in honor of the innocents and professionals who lost their lives in the 2001 terrorist attacks.

"We join with our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of life and celebrating the unity of Americans that ensued," Curry said. "We believe that NMSU's tribute is fitting and proper, and we're honored to be asked to participate as community partners."

The Las Cruces City Council also is offering its support to the events. In a joint statement the City Council said: "The shock generated by the attacks of 9-11 continues to reverberate across the country and here at home. We, the City Council of Las Cruces, are mindful of the pain that remains, and are very much aware of future threats. We add our prayers to those of our fellow Las Crucens on this solemn occasion, and pledge our commitment to help to keep our community safe from dangers foreign and domestic. God bless America!"

At a special council meeting on Monday, Sept. 8, the City Council will issue a proclamation declaring the week of Sept. 8 "Remembrance Week" in honor of those who perished in the attacks.

The NMSU Horseshoe is located just south of the intersection of University Avenue and Espina Street on the west side of the main campus. The Corbett Center Student Union is accessible from University Avenue via Jordan Street.