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Local 9/11 remembrances this week

The community is gearing up this week to remember the terrorist event 14 years ago that stunned America.

To not forget Sept. 11, 2001, the community’s 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance committee has put a focus on service before self in hopes of keeping the volunteer and togetherness spirit alive that dominated the nation as the cities struck recovered.

It’s the fourth year the L-O-U area has come together for events, and this year will see both old and new. Sarah Ball, director of Volunteer Oxford, said new this year is a weeklong series of events and a candlelight ceremony. A repeat event is the letter-writing project.

“In years past we have had up to 200 participants at our ceremonies and then for our letter-writing project we had over 2,000 participate,” Ball said. “At the VA home we usually get up to 40 volunteers. We get a big turnout for our 9/11 Day of Service ceremony. This year having a different location and having it in the morning will maybe draw a different crowd.”

Ball said the goal locally is to keep the theme of recognizing first responders, and she is excited about the city also discussing a proclamation to name Oxford a Purple Heart community.

“9/11 in general is supposed to recognize first responders and show a positive light on first responders,” she said. “It’s a theme we started with the first year and kept it. It gives a chance to shed light on what they do.”

Ball encouraged every resident to participate by writing a letter of gratitude for a member of the U.S. military. All schools in Lafayette County have been welcomed to write letters and make appreciation art displays for local first-responders. The displays will be presented to area fire, police, sheriff and emergency management departments.

For those who have written a letter, it can be dropped off at one of the following locations:

— In front of the Skipwith Cottage on the Oxford Square, Friday, 9 a.m. to noon

— The University of Mississippi Student Union Lobby, Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Letters will be sent to the Operation Gratitude organization where they will be delivered to military members. Only letters, no envelopes or stamps required.

Other planned events include:

— Mississippi State Veterans Home of Oxford, 9/11 Program, 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesday

— 9/11 Candlelight Ceremony at the Union Plaza, Wednesday

— 9/11 Program for Bramlett Elementary and Lafayette elementary students, Thursday

— UM ROTC 9/11 Memorial Run, gather at the Lyceum 5:45 a.m., free two-mile run

— 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony, Oxford Activity Center, 9:30 a.m., Friday

“Come out and support our local first responders as well as be involved in the 9/11 national Day of Service,” Ball said. “There are communities that are shedding a positive light on 9/11 and they do that by volunteering. Coming out to community events is a good way to be connected to this day.”

For more information about the 9/11 Memorial Run, contact Matt Hayes with the Ole Miss Army ROTC at 662-915-7085.

For more information about all other L-O-U community 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance projects and events, call Volunteer Oxford at 662-236-6662 or email volunteer@oxfordms.net.