LUBBOCK, Texas — The 17th annual American Flag Field Tribute was on display at Kastman Park in South Lubbock on Wednesday.
“We were devastated,” said Laura Reyes, a Muleshoe resident. “It was 18 years ago but it doesn’t seem like that long ago.”
Reyes was one of many that paid respects and reflected on the tragic day that was September 11.
Randy Pierce, a delivery driver traveling to Dallas that crisp September morning, said he was not prepared for what he saw.
“Dallas was a ghost town downtown,” Pierce said. “There were police cars parked in front of every major building.”
Former New York City resident Kim Portues, who now lives in Lubbock, said she remembers the moment the second plane hit.
“I just had this awful feeling in my gut like well, that was no accident, that was intentional,” Portues said.
Portues believes the tribute to those who died, some of whom she’s aware might have been her classmates, is comforting to see in her new city.
Fifth graders from Jayne Ann Miller Elementary set up the flags earlier in the week. While he wasn’t born at the time of the attacks, Santiago Tafoya said he is privileged to honor the victims he’ll never know.
“We’re respecting the people who died in the buildings and in the plane crashes,” Tafoya said.
But even with the tears in his eyes, Pierce knows the day that stopped time won’t be leaving the minds of Americans any time soon.
“We continue to remember,” he said. “We won’t forget.”