City to remember, mourn 9/11with memorial Sunday


Flags flown in Joplin during the tornado lie in a pile, awaiting Sunday’s event to repair the 9/11 flag.


The city of Joplin will mourn with citizens of New York on Sunday at a memorial service in honor of those lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The day will be filled with remembrance and celebration as we remember one tragedy while still recovering from our own.

“We have a whole weekend filled with spending time together as a community at large and having activities to help with our healing process as well,” Kelly Wilson, MSSU Advising, Counseling and Testing Services director said.

The Sunday memorial service, which will begin at 8:30 a.m., will be simulcast on CNN. Four sites will be shown: New York, the Pentagon, Shanksville, Pa., and Joplin.

Pat Tuttle, director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, is glad to share this day with these other sites.

“What we were told was that this is the first year the families won’t be able to see Ground Zero from where their vantage point is,” he said. “So on the TV screen, they’re projecting our Ground Zero back to New York for that image.”

The event will begin at Cunningham Park in Joplin, where a flag flown at New York’s Ground Zero will be held horizontal to the ground for 30 minutes while a moment of silence is observed.

Local choirs will also sing at the event, but Tuttle says that isn’t what’s important.

“The focus is the flag; the focus is the moment of silence,” he said.

Once the service concludes at Cunningham, the 9/11 flag will be folded up and loaded into a fire truck, and will then make its trek through the city. The truck will follow the path of the May 22 tornado.

The truck will travel 26th St. to Indiana Ave., to 20th St, to Duenweg, then to Leggett & Platt Athletic Center, where color guard will raise the flag for a shortvice.

“We’re hoping people will line the route, the processional route between Cunningham and Southern and fall in line behind the fire truck as it passes,” Sandy Lovett, MSSU Resource Center director said.

The second half of the service at Missouri Southern won’t be the first of its kind. 

The University has been connected with 9/11 since the year after the attacks.

“That was the time that we dedicated our freedom flag on campus, and we feel more than honored to be able to host this for our Joplin community,” Wilson said.

Once the service concludes at Leggett & Platt, the community is invited to help stitch the 9/11 flag back together. Residents are encouraged to bring flags flown during the tornado to help patch up the larger flag.

This won’t be the first time the flag has been used in such a manner.

“This flag started the mending process in Greensburg, KS, so the fact that it’s going full circle through the midwest and tornadic activity is kind of a monumental type activity,” Tuttle said.

And while the flag got its new start in Greensburg, it will make its last stop in Joplin.

“We’re turning it into a major send off,” Tuttle said. “This is the last time human hands will actually be able to work with the 9/11 flag.