FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with a week of service and commemoration, culminating in a public memorial event Friday, September 10, at 11 a.m., and a day of service Saturday, September 11.
According to a news release from the university, the commemorative service Friday will be organized around the theme of “Pain. Resilience. Hope.” It begins 11 a.m. at the campus flagpoles on Kinkead Avenue.
“This year has been especially important to me, and the remembrance of that day 20 years ago has become not only a beacon of hope in a time of fear and darkness, but it has also symbolized a time when Americans came together to triumph over terror to defend our great nation.” said UAFS Chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley.
The release says the event will be opened by Dr. Williams Yamkam, assistant professor of political science, and Riley will welcome the community to the campus.
The UAFS Music Ensemble and the UAFS Instrumental Ensemble will perform.
Community speakers will include Fort Smith City Administrator Carl Gefkken, who will address pain. Col. David Gibbons, commander of the National Guard 142 Field Artillery Brigade will address resilience. Fort Smith Vice Mayor Jared Rego will address hope.
The release says the event will end with the tolling of a bell by Fort Smith Fire Department to remind attendees of the lives lost when planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, when the towers collapsed, and when United Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa.
Following the event, the university invites Fort Smith first responders to The Stubblefield Center to climb 2071 steps to remember the sacrifices of first responders who climbed stairs in the 110-story World Trade Center towers.
The commemorative event is open to the public, and limited seating will be available, according to the release.
The release says the memorial will play out against the background of 3,000 American flags planted in the Campus Green earlier in the week by students and staff members.
Students also have created teams to meet the Stair Climbing Challenge in the Recreation and Wellness Center throughout the week.
On Saturday, students in LionHeart, a campus service organization, will host the fall 2021 Lions Community Outreach Day.
According to the release, students will check-in at the Bell Tower at 9 a.m. They will be dispatched to local nonprofit agencies like the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Arc for the River Valley, Sack Lunch Program, and Young Life.