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Huge flag over canyon will return for 9/11 Memorial in Twin Falls

11,700-square-foot American flag that flew over the Snake River Canyon (Magic Valley 911 Memorial/Released)
September 08, 2023

The flag is back.

The 11,700-square-foot American beauty that graced the Snake River Canyon last year during the annual Magic Valley 9/11 Memorial will return this year.

Utah-based nonprofit Follow the Flag will again hang the huge U.S. flag over the canyon in what is a week-long remembrance, with the big event held Monday evening with a U.S. Air Force flyover, displays, entertainment and a 21-gun salute.

It’s just one of the events taking place to build unity and to remember those who lost their lives during the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

“They love this area,” Magic Valley organizer Larae Saufley said of Follow the Flag, with group members saying it was one of the most spectacular sites to hang the 150-by-78 flag.

The organization inspires patriotism with its displays, and has a motto of “Honor-Heal-Inspire.”

But other cities want the opportunity to host the giant flag as well, and the group can’t commit to coming each year, so memorial organizers are raising money to purchase its own flag and the accompanying lights, lines and rigging, so local first responder units can do it on their own. About $50,000 of the $75,000 goal has been raised so far, Saufley said.

A community dinner will be held at the Kimberly Middle School at 5 p.m. Friday to help with the fundraising efforts, prior to giving people attending the high school football game a sneak peek of the flag as it is unfurled on the football field at about 6:45 p.m.

“It will give students a nice chance to see it up close,” Saufley said.

The flag will be carried over the Perrine Bridge at 5 p.m. Sunday and people are invited to help. The event is in partnership with the suicide prevention group Love Yourself, which will be holding a “Bands at the Bridge” event on the same day.

Even if people don’t want to help carry the flag, they are invited to come, perhaps wear patriotic colors and join in, Saufley noted.

The big celebration will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, with the program beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Twin Falls Visitor Center.

U.S. Air Force jets will perform a flyover. Also included will be a 21-gun salute, armed forces displays, food trucks and music will be provided by the Heath Clark Band.

And AWOL Adventure Sports plans to give veterans free boat rides from Centennial Park.

The flag will flutter over the canyon until the morning of Sept. 16.

Last year was the biggest event in the four-year history of the memorial, as an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people attended, Saufley said.

For those who are unable to attend the memorial in person, the group plans to livestream it on their website “so they can feel like they are a part of it,” she said.

The Magic Valley 9/11 memorial got its start in 2020 when Angela Johnson dreamed of people waving flags while standing on the Perrine Bridge.

It was a couple of weeks before the 9/11 anniversary, so she bought hundreds of small flags and 200 of people showed up to wave flags on the bridge, making her dream come true.

Other events

The Crouch Family and Crossroads Point Business Center are holding the Patriot Day Flag Memorial, with 3,000 flags carefully aligned flags on display. The flag display begins Thursday. A 9/11 Memorial Day Program will take place at 11 a.m. Monday with Jerome High School band and choir performances beginning at 10:30 a.m. An emergency-responders parade arrives at 10:45 a.m.

Idaho Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke will speak during the program.

The flags will remain in place through Wednesday, and residents can purchase one of the flags used in the event for $40, with proceeds going to the Jerome American Legion Post 46, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Northside Military Museum.

It will be the 10th Patriot Day Flag Memorial hosted by the business center. Visit the Crossroads Point Business Center website for more information.

A 9/11 memorial will be held at 8:30 a.m. Monday on the lawn north of the Taylor Building on the College of Southern Idaho campus.

“The ceremony will be brief, but the gathering will provide the opportunity to honor, to reflect, and to remember,” CSI President Dean Fisher said in a news release. He noted that most traditional students were likely born around 2005, so “many do not realize how that single day shaped the modern world,” he said. “It is important that the events of 9/11, the loss of life, and the consequences that have come in the aftermath are remembered and honored.”


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