City of Sandy honors 9/11 victims with 12th annual ‘Healing Field’

Posted at 12:06 PM, Sep 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-11 20:33:21-04

SANDY, Utah -- Hundreds gathered in Sandy Wednesday night to commemorate the 12th anniversary of September 11th.

The ceremony honored the memory of those killed in the terror attack as well as Utahns who have since died in the line of duty.

Sawn Swenson, director of the Colonial Flag Foundation, said the 2,013 flags erected on the promenade in front of Sandy's City Hall building are the same flags that lined the route taken by the funeral procession of slain draper police sergeant Derek Johnson a week earlier.

In fact, 106 of the flags on the healing field represent the Utah police officers, firefighters and service members killed on duty since 9/11.

The display provided the backdrop for the 2013 Utah Healing Field Flag Memorial.

Bagpipes played as officers performed a special honor guard and roll call for Utah's fallen service members, as well as a bell toll and 21 gun salute.

"It really hits home," said Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan. "The sacrifices, the tragedy, the evil that existed that day."

Brig. Gen. Dallen Atack of the Utah National Guard also spoke at the ceremony, saying the terror attacks 12 years ago strengthened Americans' resolve.

"That this nation would grow, that this nation would strengthen, that this nation would never be attacked on its home soil again," Atack said.

This year's Healing Field, a 12-year tradition, nearly didn't happen.

Swenson said the Colonial Flag Foundation was unable to absorb the ongoing cost of the display. But just two weeks ago, the charitable organization Homes for Heroes stepped up with a sizable donation of money and manpower, helping pull everything together just in time for Wednesday's field and ceremony.

Shauna Jorgensen, executive director of Homes for Heroes, said the healing field will be up until 5 p.m. Thursday, but may be taken down sooner or later depending on the weather.

Jorgensen said they're asking the community to help defray the cost of the display by sponsoring a flag for $35. Donors would get a flag from the field they can take home.