Sept. 11 memorials to be held in Clovis, Portales

By Eric Butler: Freedom New Mexico

A pair of events are set on Friday, the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks.

One, in Clovis, seeks to de-emphasize the attacks and focus on those who respond in the area. Another, in Portales, ensures those attacks are at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

“When it happened, we thought no one would ever forget it,” said David Stone, president of Portales National Bank. “Time has a way of making people forget things. People are no longer afraid.”

Friday at 7:30 a.m., Stone’s business will serve as the location for the remembrance ceremony. It’s an event he’s organized every year since the one-year anniversary in 2002.

The Clovis breakfast, set for 6-8 a.m. with a brief program at 7 a.m. at Central Baptist Church, recognizes police officers, firefighters, members of the military and administrative employees of the city and county.

Euealle Webb, a senior pastor’s secretary at the church an a promoter for the event, said the focus is on Patriot Day and the first responders called on in times of need, not the disasters that create those times.

“We’re trying to pinpoint the good things that first responders do for our community instead of bringins up Sept. 11,” Webb said. “They don’t want to be reminded of that year after year after year.”

Stone said he will never need a reminder.

“I was out at the ranch, I hadn’t come to work yet,” Stone said. “I was just in disbelief. I remember seeing President Bush, when he was talking to a second-grade class I think, when he was told about it.

“He just had this look of disbelief on his face. That’s kind of how all of us felt.”

Stone is concerned about complacence and the chance something similar could happen again.

At Friday morning’s ceremony, in the bank’s parking lot at First and Abilene, Roosevelt County sheriff Darren Hooker is the featured speaker and a color guard from Cannon Air Force Base will conduct a flag ceremony and play “Taps.”

Local musician Andy Mason will perform two songs while 13-year-old Amy Carter will sing the National Anthem.

Carter’s mother, Christie, works at Portales National Bank. Even though her daughter was very young when the attacks happened, no one in the family has trouble remembering the events.

“My brother lived in New York City and we were unable to contact him, so it kind of impacted us in that way,” Christie Carter said. “When we found out, we were trying to get through, but he finally contacted us later in the evening.”

Damon Pearce, a worship pastor at Central Baptist, said the Clovis event would feature a song from Tracy Tankersley and a short video in recognition of those being honors.

“We just want to bless them and encourage them,” he said.