The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Community commemorates 9/11 attacks


September 12, 2018

Jamie Cushman

From left, Cannon Air Force Base Honor Guard members Tyshon Singletary, Shay Peokins and Corey Potter raise the American flag before lowering it to half-staff.

PORTALES - Seventeen years later, we still remember.

That was the message during the annual Sept. 11 ceremony held outside James Polk Stone Community Bank on Tuesday morning as dozens came out to honor the thousands who lost their lives and millions more who were affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"We can't ever forget watching TV as we watched that second plane fly into the Twin Towers. When we say the towers crumble, we can never forget that and today we especially remember it," David Stone said to kick off the ceremony.

Mayor Ron Jackson echoed those sentiments later in the morning.

"I just want to say about 9/11 that we never want to forget what happened that day. I was watching the news this morning and those memories just came flooding back of just being in shock," Jackson said.

"So I want us to never forget that, never forget the sacrifices that those departments made in New York, that our departments make every day putting their lives on the line for us. We appreciate you."

Portales Fire Capt. Scott Candelaria shared a message to honor 43 paramedics and EMT personnel who were killed.

"The graphic images of Sept. 11, 2001, have left an indelible memory in the minds of all Americans who experienced these terrorist attacks. EMTs and paramedics have been providing patient care hoping time would heal wounds and distance would make acceptance easier," Candelaria read.

The event kicked off with the posting of the American flag by three members of the Cannon Air Force Base Honor Guard and a performance of "Taps" by Airman 1st Class Alexander Cano.

While the 50 stars and 13 stripes of Old Glory always carry with them a special meaning, the flag used during Tuesday's ceremony was particularly powerful for two residents in attendance.

Brad and Julie Nance told The News that the flag flying above the High Plains of Portales on Tuesday once called the deserts of Afghanistan its home.

The Nances said after their son Capt. James Justin Nance was deployed to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, he returned with two American flags from the Middle East.

Julie Nance said one of the flags was given to Stone because "David believed in him" and helped him attend New Mexico Military Institute, while the other was given to Brad Nance on his birthday.

"My flag, since I encased it, it still has the sands of Afghanistan on it and you can see it in the black felt where it flew there during that time," Brad Nance said.

As an EMT, the story shared by Candelaria also hit home for him.

"So 9/11 means a lot to me, not only having fellow brothers and sisters perish in New York and the Pentagon, also we have a son that's active duty," Brad Nance said.

The Nances said they attend the ceremony every year and just appreciate the sense of pride and reminder of what occurred that comes with it.

Other area ceremonies on Tuesday included a symbolic stair climb by Clovis firefighters, a ceremony at American Legion Post 25 in Clovis and a memorial "Honoring the Heroes of 911" at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.


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