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9/11 events scheduled for Saturday

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Pictured seated, from left, are Chaves County deputies Josh Martinez and Anna Romero, with Preston Washington, fire inspector with the Roswell Fire Department, and Deputy Fire Marshal Jared Olive, as they eat lunch together during the First Responders Appreciation Lunch Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. The lunch is once again being held this year, Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Liberty Social Club, 312 N. Virginia Avenue. (Daily Record File Photo)

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With this Saturday marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, at least two local events will be held in observance of that solemn day, including a lunch meant as a show of support for first responders.

Saturday it will be 20 years since four planes were hijacked by 19 men affiliated with the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.

Two of the planes were later crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. A third plane struck the Pentagon and a fourth crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

In all, 2,997 people died in the attacks of that day. The day is the worst attack by a foreign entity on U.S. soil.

The Lagrone Funeral Chapel & Crematory and the Ballard Funeral Home & Crematory will host their annual First Responders Appreciation Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Liberty Social Club at 312 North Virginia Avenue.

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All police officers, deputies, as well as fire and emergency medical personnel in Chaves County are invited to attend.

Troy Grant, business manager for both Lagrone and Ballard, said the staff at the Liberty will be preparing the hamburgers and providing the venue, while Lagrone and Ballard employees will serve the lunches.

“It’s just our way of telling them how much we appreciate and thank them for their service,” said Grant.

First responders who cannot make it to the actual event, Grant added, can call 575-626-2989 and have food delivered to them.

“They can call that number, we’ll take their order and get food delivered to them,” Grant said.

Since 2002, Ballard and Lagrone have hosted the appreciation lunch on Sept. 11. Grant estimates that each year they serve anywhere between 110 and 150 lunches.

A retired Roswell Police officer, Grant said both the lunch and 9/11 have a personal meaning for him. He said he knows firsthand the important work law enforcement, fire and medical personnel do on a daily basis.

“We are just thankful that we have them and we support them 100%,” he said.

That same day, a musical tribute will be held on the lawn of the Chaves County Courthouse from 10 to 11 a.m., according to a post on the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

Tom Blake, director of ministry at Westminster Presbyterian Church; Sean Lee, a pastor at Grace Community Church; and Lee White, a musician, will perform patriotic songs at the event, said Bob Power, organizer of the tribute.

The performance will take place alongside the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce’s Piñata Festival, which will be happening that day on the courthouse lawn.

Songs performed, Blake said, will include renditions of “Where were you when the world stopped turning” by Alan Jackson, “Red, White and Blue” by Toby Keith, and “Some gave all” by Billy Ray Cyrus, as well as more traditional patriotic songs such as “God Bless America.”

Power said the tribute is a way to both honor those who died in the 9/11 attacks and educate people about the significance of the day.

He explained that he came up with the idea for a musical tribute after speaking with several people who did not know what 9/11 was.

“I was shocked,” he said.

Power said that when Marcos Nava, executive director of the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce, heard about the idea, he wanted it to be part of the Piñata Festival.

The tribute, Powers said, is something he hopes can serve to refresh people’s memories about the 9/11 attacks.

“It’s important that people never forget about that event,” he said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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