Ground Zero Project Firefighters.jpg

Members of the Ground Zero Project Kids pose for a photo with local firefighters at Fire Station 1 in Hanford in this 2019 file photo. The Ground Zero Project will host its annual 9/11 memorial event this Saturday. 

What started out as a way for one family to pay tribute to local first responders in 2015 has turned into the premier, community-wide event that teaches school children the significance of Sept. 11, 2001, and keeps the memory of those lost alive.

This year will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

Organizer Shelli Barker’s hope is that parents will take the family so that their kids can sit side-by-side with a firefighter or police officer, share a meal, and get to know a little bit more about what first responders do and why their work matters.

“Especially now in this social climate,” Barker said, “it’s important for kids to know that first responders are just like the rest of us, just regular moms and dads, aunts and uncles, and brothers and sisters.”

The free, patriotic event will have something for everyone, including a reading of the names of local, fallen first responders, a performance of the National Anthem by local Hanford guitarist Mike Kibby, a flyover of a California Highway Patrol helicopter, guest speaker Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes, awards to local volunteers, dedication of a new flag and flagpole, and an interactive question-and-answer event for the kids.

All of this will be followed by lunch provided by local food merchants.

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