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Tucsonans' hearts on display at 9/11 remembrance
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Sept. 11

Tucsonans' hearts on display at 9/11 remembrance

Low turnout meant a change from planned human flag

  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • The low turnout forced a change in plans. Organizers pulled up the flag layout and marked out a heart shape instead.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comThe low turnout forced a change in plans. Organizers pulled up the flag layout and marked out a heart shape instead.
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Courtesy Nancy Tranchese
  • Courtesy Nancy Tranchese

A low turnout didn't flag the spirits of participants at a 9/11 commemoration at the University of Arizona on Saturday.

Rather than more than a thousand people dressed in red, white and blue forming a human flag, as organizers had planned, the 250 who showed up at Frank Sancet Stadium on a hot afternoon gathered in the shape of a heart.

As the crowd formed the outline of a heart in the outfield, an aerial photograph was taken from the basket crane of a Tucson Fire Department truck.

A similar event was held in February to form a heart to show support for the victims of the Jan. 8 shooting. That event was organized by "Tucson Has Heart" and was held at Hi Corbett Field, where those involved wore red shirts and an aerial photograph also was taken.

There was a also human flag in Tucson in 2001 to commemorate the 9/11 attacks. Around 15,000 people attended that event.

Jose Miranda, a member of an ad hoc community planning committee for Saturday's event, had anticipated a large turnout.

"We were expecting about 1,000 people but we now assume it will be closer to 1,400," said Miranda, as people began to filter into the ball field's stands around 3 p.m.

But when it came time to take the photograph, there were about 250 people present, so the alternate plan Miranda had prepared came was put into action — forming a heart rather than a flag.

"It went well," Miranda said. "We made the best that we could with the number of people who attended. It's not about us, it's about the symbol. And this is a symbol of remembrance of September 11."

The D'Andrea family had been close with the youngest firefighter who died at Ground Zero, Christopher Santora. They were pleased to come out and support the 10th anniversary with fellow Tucsonans.

"It's all about sharing the common bond and appreciating what we have and not taking it for granted," said Nick D'Andrea.

"We want to let people know that we'll never forget," added Carol D'Andrea.

Craig and Lori Sumberg, former New Yorkers who were lived in upper Manhattan in 2001, were invited to speak at the event.

Craig Sumberg passed through the subway stop at the base of the Twin Towers, after the first plane had struck the World Trade Center.

Lori Sumberg spoke of the silence and ever-present smell of smoke in New York after Sept. 11.

"The sounds and smells of death filled our city and our hearts," Sumberg said.

"In New York, everyone drives with their hand on their horn. But after 9/11, no one beeped their horns. It was so quiet," said Sumberg.

"As the city of Tucson knows all too well, people and cities are resilient, and life eventually goes on," Sumberg said. "We believe in overcoming darkness with light and with love."

"It was an honor to be here to share our experiences and memories," Sumberg said after the speech.

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9-11, jose miranda, ua

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