Preparation have begun on the state capitol grounds for a Sunday morning service to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

Tim Albrecht, a spokesman for Governor Branstad, says there’ll be an American flag on the site for every 9/11 victim. 

“Today, 2977 flags are being placed on the north edge of the capitol grounds,” Albrecht says, “right along the busy Grand Avenue.”

Grand Avenue is the city street which runs along the north side of the statehouse.

Sunday’s ceremony will be held outdoors, near a replica of the Statue of Liberty which stands to the northeast of the state capitol.

“We thought that was fitting,” Albrech says.  “We’re hoping to have people from all across the state join the governor and public safety officials as we pay tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11 ten years ago.” 

The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday and Albrecht says the governor, along with leaders from the Iowa National Guard and state public safety officials, plan to reflect on that day. “And when the planes actually hit the towers, we’re going to mark that occasion with 21-gun salutes, so this will be a very solemn service,” Albrecht says.”We’re going to remember the lives but also celebrate the lives of those who were killed in these terrible attacks.”

At 7:46 a.m. Iowa time on September 11, 2001, the first plane hit the World Trade Center’s North Tower.  The second plane hit the Trade Center’s South Tower at 16 minutes later. A third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon at 8:37 a.m. Iowa time that morning. A fourth plane, believed to be on course toward Washington, D.C., crashed in a Pennsylvania field less than half an hour as some of the passengers confronted the hijackers.

That evening members of congress gathered on the steps of the nation’s capitol and sang “God Bless America” — and planners of this Sunday’s ceremony in Des Moines have arranged for Iowa native Simon Estes, an opera star, to sing that song for the state’s 9/11 observance.