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Sandy Journal

Healing Field display commemorates 9/11

Aug 29, 2019 11:00AM ● By Stephanie DeGraw

A young girl stands among the flags in a previous year at the Healing Field. (Photo courtesy Sandy City)

By Stephanie DeGraw | [email protected]

Most of us remember the surreal moment when 9/11 unfolded. The tragedy seared itself into our collective consciousness.  

The Healing Field will run Sept. 7–11 across the Sandy City Promenade to honor each of the almost 3,000 victims who lost their lives. A sea of posted American flags will honor those who died when terrorists seized airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on a grassy field in Pennsylvania. 

Paul B. Swenson, founder of the Healing Field, wants to help heal those who remember and to teach those who did not experience it. "We want to honor those who died. The flags are a memorial focusing on our nation's resolve that the world will never forget the martyrs to terrorism," Swenson said. "That the mature may remember and the young may learn."
 
A new addition this year is a free concert Saturday, Sept. 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. featuring country artist Charley Jenkins. On Sept. 11 from 7–8 p.m., a special ceremony will be held to honor the 9/11 fallen and six local Utah heroes.

The event also provides a platform to raise funds in support of worthwhile charities. This year the charity chosen to support is Honor 365. Because 9/11 had such a significant impact on the military and first responders, it's critical to deliver the support they need. "We know that when resources and support are available to help veterans and first responders their success and quality of life increases," Swenson said. 

Honor 365 is a nonprofit that supports education, employment, healthcare and housing. This local charity's vision is "A World Without Suicide." Their focus is on raising money for suicide prevention among first responders and military. According to Dr. Ninzel Rasmuson, founder of Honor 365, the stress of those who are on the front line of helping those in need can be overwhelming. The Utah website is www.honor365.org.

The Healing Field is still going strong after 18 years. This first Healing Field event inspired cities across the United States to host the Colonial Flag Foundation official flag display programs. "My original intent as I was contemplating the display was to demonstrate the sheer enormity of the human loss that occurred in the terrorist attacks," he said.
 
Swenson encourages people to visit the display and "get lost" among the poles and have a private moment for themselves. "There are many moods that can be felt, depending on whether or not the wind is blowing. The flags seem to come to life and then, when the wind leaves, the flags sit with such solemn majesty," he said. "The Healing Field is more than just the poles and flags. Some say there is a loving feeling, and they felt the spirits of those killed on 9/11."

All flags on the field are available for sale. A flag kit, which can be purchased for $35, includes the pole, flag, a biography about one of the victims, rebar, and a certificate stating it flew on the Healing Field. Flags can be picked up on Sept. 11 after the program or any time on Sept. 12 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. They can be ordered at the field or online at healingfield.org/utah