Michael Murphy of the Patriot Guard Riders rallies fellow bikers to saddle up for a parade to the Field of Honor at New Mexico Military Institute’s Stapp Field Friday morning. (Mark Wilson Photo)
The Field of Honor — an event that is taking place in several cities nationwide to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 — kicked off its local ceremony with an escorted drive on Main Street Friday morning.
Roswell Field of Honor volunteer Rita Kane-Doerhoefer said Friday’s event was not so much a parade as it was an escort ceremony in which members of the RPD escorted participants down Main Street.
The escorted drive ceremony included the New Mexico Patriot Guard motorcycle riders, local K-9 hero Sage and members of the Roswell police and fire Departments.
Sage rode in style, in a dark blue convertible 1969 Pontiac GTO owned by Kane-Doerhoefer. Sage’s handler, Diane Whetsel, said the drive was about getting the community excited not only about the Field of Honor events Saturday, but also the charities that benefit from the event.
The flags sold for the Roswell Field of Honor will benefit Operation Wounded Warrior of New Mexico, the Fallen Warrior Scholarship Fund and The Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve.
“I hope people come out and support the charities,” Whetsel said. She said the 10-minute drive was just a taste of the ceremonies that will take place on New Mexico Military Institute’s Stapp Field Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.
The events on Saturday will include a military flyover at 10:05 a.m., the playing of the national anthem by NMMI and Goddard and Roswell high school bands and the reading of the names of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, as well as those who perished on 9/11.
“The big deal is the event Saturday,” Whetsel said. “This is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. We really need to honor all of those that we lost. … That’s what this is really all about — to honor 9/11 and never forget it.”
For Rick Overmier, who served in Iraq in 2005 and 2006 and is now a member of the New Mexico Patriot Guard, the Field of Honor is a remembrance of 9/11, but also a way to honor those in the military.
He said his involvement in the Patriot Guard as well as his willingness to volunteer for the Field of Honor stem in part from a feeling of brotherhood with other veterans and members of the armed forces.
“We still have a lot of troops today that are far from home,” Overmier said. “We don’t need to forget about them.”
Kane-Doerhoefer will be reading about 250 names at the Field of Honor ceremonies at Stapp Field Saturday morning. She is one of several volunteers who will be splitting the task.
“We would like people to come out tomorrow,” Kane-Doerhoefer said. She said flags for the Field of Honor ceremony will continue to be sold Saturday at Stapp Field. Although the event begins at 10 a.m., she suggested people arrive early.