Just as the sun rises on Friday, volunteers will begin placing 2,998 American flags in the Vista Verde Memorial Park in memory of the victims who died in the 9/11 attack.

That’s the beginning of a series of events leading up to a special 9/11 Memorial Service conducted by Daniels Family Funeral Services. On that same day, the funeral home will announce the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship for the high school senior who can write the best essay about the silent victims of 9/11 and how the nation can give them a voice.

On Saturday, a motorcycle convoy will ride from Garcia Mortuary in Albuquerque to the Twin Towers Memorial in Vista Verde.

The Twin Towers Memorial was constructed in Rio Rancho because of the many New Yorkers who have relocated here or who have homes here. It incorporates a structure in a Pentagon shape surrounding artwork of the Twin Towers. The artwork includes concrete and steel from Ground Zero.

Surrounding the Pentagon structure are four benches representing those lost in the deadliest attack on American soil: one each for all civilians, firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians.

The events climax at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 9/11, with special music performed by Rio Rancho and Cleveland high schools, an annual memorial service, a last alarm ceremony and a candlelight ceremony at the memorial. The last alarm ceremony involves ringing a special firefighter’s bell that is adjacent to the memorial.

Sept. 11, 2001, represents one of the darkest days in American history. Most of us were glued to our television sets as we watched two airplanes fly into the Twin Towers, another into the Pentagon and a fourth, reportedly destined for the White House, was overtaken by heroes on board after their families had relayed to them what was happening. That plane crashed into a field in Somerset, Pennsylvania.

The memorial and the ceremony are fitting tributes where Rio Rancho residents can go, not only Tuesday night, but year round, to remember those lost. It’s not only an opportunity to pay respects to those lost, but to pay tribute to law enforcement, EMTs and firefighters who put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis.