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Solemn 'Healing Field' in Sandy honors those who died during 9/11

Posted at 5:08 PM, Sep 11, 2023

SANDY, Utah — On the anniversary of the events of 9/11, a local tribute to those lives lost 22 years ago remains in place in Sandy.

Thousands of flags blow in the breeze at the Healing Field across from Sandy’s City Hall, that continues to feature a flag dedicated to each life lost that fateful day.

It takes volunteers only minutes to put up the flags for what is an emotional display.

"It’s beautiful," says Murray resident Debbie Critchett. "I enjoy reading all the cards and tributes. Such sweet souls that we lost.

"It’s beautiful."

Critchett didn't come to the Healing Field along, bringing along a friend from Denver this year.
"Even though it might not look like much from the outside, you get walking in here and there’s so many flags and so many names. Everyone from the janitor to the president of the company that died because of this tragedy," said first time visitor Kallie Graleck.

Sandy resident Stephanie Millar, who brought her four-year-old son to the display, remembered how unified the country was in the days and weeks that followed.

"We should remember and teach our kids and young children about the significance of this day and what it means," she said.

For Ogden firefighter Rob Thomas, the anniversary is very personal.

"It’s a very special day for me. I like to remember 343 the brothers, the firefighter that paid the ultimate price - they’re heroes," he said. "People forget these rescuers went in and would again, and they’re suffering serious health issues from Ground Zero."

Even two decades later, Herriman's Melissa Ross says her family still pays a price from her father's service and sacrifice that came in the days after 9/11. Like his fellow first responders, Ross's father, Michael Riley, has had serious health issues.

"My dad has a brain tumor from it and he buried someone related, near to his heart that went with him and served on the Urban Search and Rescue team, and his men will do it again, they love their country," Ross said. "They love serving our country. I love how big they are, all firefighters, and then they’re in this exclusive group and modern day heroes.