A food giveaway Friday kicked off local efforts to remember the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on New York and Washington.
Scores of soldiers and veterans lined up in a field near the Norris-Penrose Events Center to get boxes of staples from spaghetti sauce to cereal.
"We always want to give back to those who have served," said Bob McLaughlin who runs the Mount Carmel Center of Excellence, a veteran-aimed charity that organized the giveaway.
Tributes to 9/11 are expected at sporting events over the weekend and will continue Monday with a military ceremony planned for Schriever Air Force Base.
The food giveaway, done in conjunction with the charity Salute America's Heroes, has become an annual affair to honor those who are still fighting the war that began with hijacked airliners striking the World Trade Center.
Salute's Martin Badegian said with rising housing prices and relatively flat military pay, troops are feeling a financial squeeze this year.
Salute ordered a truckload of food for the event and worked with Mount Carmel and local bases to identify troops with bare cupboards.
Badegian said giving extra canned goods and vegetables to soldiers and airmen can prevent them from falling into financial crisis in the winter months, when holiday expenses and higher utility bills tax tight budgets.
Troops from the Pikes Peak region will remember 9/11 on Monday as they gather at Schriever. The 9 a.m. ceremony, which has rotated between local bases in recent years, will include speeches and the playing of taps.
"This ceremony is a reminder of why so many service members and first responders serve this nation and our communities, placing their lives on the line every day," Schriever said in a news release. "It also pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the attacks."
Colorado Springs will also host a gathering for civilians on Monday.
Mitchell High School off Potter Drive will host local police and firefighters during the school's annual commemoration of the attacks.
Mitchell has a special connection to the tragedy.
"There will be a special tribute to Ms. Kathryn Yancey LaBorie, a 1975 graduate of Mitchell High School who was a flight attendant aboard United Airlines Flight 175," the school said in a news release. "Her plane was the second aircraft to crash into the World Trade Center."
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240