Van Bateman’s Southwest Incident Management Team Member and WNMU Alumnus J.R. Calkins Speaking at 9/11 Memorial

Pictured is J.R. Calkins, who will give the keynote address at the Western New Mexico University Community 9/11 Memorial to be held on campus beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.

© Western New Mexico University

The Western New Mexico University Office of Veteran Affairs will observe the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a memorial event on campus Saturday, September 11, 2021.

“The university invites the community to join us in solemnly remembering the 2,977 lives lost that day in 2001, and also in honoring the 5,448 service members and civilians killed in action during the resulting Global War on Terror,” said USAF Sep. Staff Sergeant Jason Quimby, who manages the WNMU Office of Veteran Affairs.

The event begins at 8 a.m. with a presentation of the colors and the national anthem sung by Mariachi Plata de WNMU and continues through noon with periodical observed silences in remembrance of the attack’s most devastating moments.

Giving the keynote address will be 1984 WNMU alumnus J.R. Calkins, who worked on a Type 1 Incident Management Team that mobilized to New York City on September 12, 2001, to assist with search and rescue efforts at ground zero. The members of Van Bateman’s Southwest Incident Management Team were recognized with a USDA Honor Award in 2002.

Fallen soldier memorial display will represent the 90 New Mexican service members who have been lost in the 20 years of conflict since the 9/11 attacks. Each memorial will have roses and be labeled with the name, rank and branch of service for each military member.

Additional displays will represent the National Veterans Foundation’s Stop 22 initiative, which aims to serve U.S. Veterans and their families through crisis management, awareness and health care referrals.

Participants will hear from elected officials, including Rep. Luis Terrazas, Rep. Rebecca Dow, Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill, and Billy Billings, who will read the Grant County Patriot’s Day proclamation. Community members Sarah Guck and Tom Kavanagh will each have a role in the ceremony, while Jim Dines, Judy Ruth and Don Spann will provide music.

Other agencies participating in the memorial event include Silver City Police Department, Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Gila Regional Medical Center EMS, Silver City Fire Department, Marine Corps League Gaffney-Oglesby Detachment 1328 and Vietnam Veterans color guard.

Food and drink will be served after TAPS. Attendees are free to linger at the memorial until 1 p.m.

The WNMU Office of Veteran Affairs reminds community members about available support, including the Veterans Crisis Line, which allows veterans or service members to speak with caring, qualified VA responders 24/7 by texting 838255 or calling 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.

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