T or C City Commission approves citizen’s request to site and name a 9/11 Memorial Park on city land

by Kathleen Sloan | June 25, 2021
5 min read
Addie photographed this plaque at Ground Zero in New York City and intends it to serve as the inspiration for the 5 by 10-foot metal sign she envisions as the memorial, which she is still hoping to build at another site.

The Truth or Consequences City Commission granted Denise Addie’s request to establish a 9/11 Memorial Park featuring a public sculpture of her own design on city land at its Wednesday, June 23, meeting.

After being interviewed by the Sun the next day, Addie called back to say she had “pulled the plug” on the plan to construct the memorial on the downtown traffic island in front of the Boys and Girls Club of Sierra County at 122 Broadway St.

Lined with pine trees and dotted with picnic tables and benches, the small green space functions as a park. A plaque commemorating the Blue Star Memorial Highway is located there.

Addie, a well-known community event organizer and Caballo resident, realized, while the Sun was interviewing her, that public monuments on public lands normally include public hearings and input. The city commission approved the siting and naming of Addie’s 9/11 Memorial Park with little discussion and no public involvement.

Addie informed Assistant City Manager Traci Alvarez and City Manager Bruce Swingle that she was cancelling her request to site the 9/11 memorial on city land before informing the Sun of her decision. “It’s up to you” was Swingle’s reaction, Addie said.

“I should have done my homework,” Addie told the Sun. “I didn’t know I was breaking the rules and I’m a person who follows the rules. I don’t even know if it is city land. Triangle Park [a traffic island close to the intended memorial site] is state right-of-way. If it is state land, I’ll never be able to get through the approval process in time.”

Addie said she will still try to find a site for the memorial in the upcoming days, in order to have it in place for a service to commemorate the upcoming 20th anniversary of 9/11. “I’m going to put it on private land,” Addie said. “Maybe the new county building wants it,” she said, referring to the former Amin’s Furniture store at 1712 N. Date St., which was purchased by Sierra County government and is being remodeled as the county’s administrative headquarters. The building is public property.

Addie has been raising funds for the memorial for four years, she said, in a June 24 interview with the Sun. The money goes to her “not for profit, Uplyfting Spirit.” She said she is working on obtaining IRS recognition of Uplyfting Spirt as a tax-exempt 501(c)3.

“My aunt and uncle died in the second tower,” Addie said. “So I have a close, personal attachment to this project.”

Four years ago Addie organized a “9/11 we will never forget” memorial service at the Veterans Memorial Park at 996 S. South Broadway St., with about 250 people attending, she said. The following year there were more than 700 attendees. Last year, the event was not held because of the pandemic.

The monument, as envisioned by Addie, would be a layered metal sign, five feet high by 10 feet wide, that will weigh about 700 pounds. The sign would feature images of the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon and the 9/11 crash site in Somerset, Pennsylvania, inspired by a commerative plaque, Addie said, she photographed at Ground Zero in New York City. The sign would stand on pillars about four feet high.

To represent the destruction of the towers, Addie envisions having blue lights within the sign shine upward from the base of the towers, emulating the “Tribute of Light,” the blue beacons that are beamed into the night sky annually on 9/11 at Ground Zero, to show where the towers once stood.

Addie estimates the memorial will cost about $10,000. She has been raising money by selling bricks that feature an image and engraved dedication of the donor’s choice for $50 and $100. Bricks are to be laid in sand in front of the sign’s concrete base.

“We are about $4,800 short,” Addie said, adding that she will make up the difference if she doesn’t attain the goal and will continue fundraising to pay herself back.

Addie said she consulted with Community Development Director O. J. Hechler and the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, who advised her on the concrete base and pillar design.

The memorial did not come before T or C’s Arts Advisory Board, which is responsible for reviewing public art projects, according to board member Eduardo Alicea, owner of Rio Bravo Fine Arts gallery in T or C. Nor was the advisory board asked for funding, Alicea said.

Addie had originally approached two Elephant Butte city officials, requesting Elephant Butte provide a site for the 9/11 memorial. There was disagreement on whether all 2,977 casualties should be honored or just the firefighters who lost their lives. Addie’s four-person board, formed about four years ago when she initiated the project, did not approve of narrowing the focus of the memorial. That’s when Addie decided to approach the City of Truth or Consequences.

Kathleen Sloan is the Sun’s founder and chief reporter. She can be reached at kathleen.sloan@gmail.com or 575-297-4146.
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Understanding New Mexico's proposed new social studies standards for K-12 students

“The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.”
—National Council for the Social Studies 

Reader Michael L. Hayes of Las Cruces commented: What impresses me is that both the proposed standards and some of the criticisms of them are equally grotesque. I make this bold statement on the basis of my experience as a peripatetic high school and college English teacher for 45 years in many states with many students differing in race, religion, gender and socioeconomic background, and as a civic activist (PTA) in public education (My career, however, was as an independent consultant mainly in defense, energy and the environment.)

The proposed social studies standards are conceptually and instructionally flawed. For starters, a “performance standard” is not a standard at all; it is a task. Asking someone to explain something is not unlike asking someone to water the lawn. Nothing measures the performance, but without a measure, there is no standard. The teacher’s subjective judgment will be all that matters, and almost anything will count as satisfying a “performance standard,” even just trying. Students will be left to wonder “what is on the teacher’s mind?” or “have I sucked up enough.”

Four other quick criticisms of the performance standards. One, they are nearly unintelligible because they are written in jargon. PED’s use of jargon in a document intended for the public is worrisome. Bureaucrats often use jargon to confuse or conceal something uninformed, wrong or unworthy. As a result, most parents, some school board members and more than a few teachers do not understand them.

Two, the performance standards are so vague that they fail to define the education which teachers are supposed to teach, students are supposed to learn, and parents are supposed to understand. PED does not define words like “explain” or “describe” so that teachers can apply “standards” consistently and fairly. The standards do not indicate what teachers are supposed to know in order to teach or specify what students are supposed to learn. Supervisors cannot know whether teachers are teaching social studies well or poorly. The standards are so vague that the public, especially parents or guardians, cannot know the content of public education.

Three, many performance standards are simply unrealistic, especially at grade level. Under “Ethnic, Cultural and Identity Performance Standards”; then under “Diversity and Identity”; then under “Kindergarten,” one such standard is: “Identify how their family does things both the same as and different from how other people do things.” Do six-year-olds know how other people do things? Do they know whether these things are relevant to diversity and identity? Or another standard: “Describe their family history, culture, and past to current contributions of people in their main identity groups.” (A proficient writer would have hyphenated the compound adjective to avoid confusing the reader.) Do six-year-olds know so much about these things in relation to their “identity group”? Since teachers obviously do not teach them about these other people and have not taught them about these groups, why are these and similar items in the curriculum; or do teachers assign them to go home and collect this information?

Point four follows from “three”; some information relevant to some performance measures requires a disclosure of personal or family matters. The younger the students, the easier it is for teachers to invade their privacy and not only their privacy, but also the privacy of their parents or guardians, or neighbors, who may never be aware of these disclosures or not become aware of them until afterward. PED has no right to design a curriculum which requires teachers to ask students for information about themselves, parents or guardians, or neighbors, or puts teachers on the spot if the disclosures reveal criminal conduct. (Bill says Jeff’s father plays games in bed with his daughter. Lila says Angelo’s mother gives herself shots in the arm.) Since teacher-student communications have no legal protection to ensure privacy, those disclosures may become public accidentally or deliberately. The effect of these proposal standards is to turn New Mexico schools and teachers into investigative agents of the state and students into little informants or spies.

This PED proposal for social studies standards is a travesty of education despite its appeals to purportedly enlightened principles. It constitutes a clear and present danger to individual liberty and civil liberties. It should be repudiated; its development, investigated; its PED perpetrators, dismissed. No state curriculum should encourage or require the disclosure of private personal information.

I am equally outraged by the comments of some of T or C’s school board members: Christine LaFont and Julianne Stroup, two white Christian women, who belong to one of the larger minorities in America and assume white and Christian privileges. In different terms but for essentially the same reason, both oppose an education which includes lessons about historical events and trends, and social movements and developments, of other minorities. They object to the proposal for the new social studies standards because of its emphasis on individual and group identities not white or Christian. I am not going to reply with specific objections; they are too numerous and too pointed.

Ms. LaFont urges: “It’s better to address what’s similar with all Americans. It’s not good to differentiate.” Ms. Stroup adds: “Our country is not a racist country. We have to teach to respect each other. We have civil rights laws that protect everyone from discrimination. We need to teach civics, love and respect. We need to teach how to be color blind.”

Their desires for unity and homogeneity, and for mutual respect, are a contradiction and an impossibility. Aside from a shared citizenship, which implies acceptance of the Constitution, the rule of law and equality under the law, little else defines Americans. We are additionally defined by our race, religion, national origin, etc. So mutual respect requires individuals to respect others different from themselves. Disrespect desires blacks, Jews or Palestinians to assimilate or to suppress or conceal racial, religious or national origin aspects of their identity. The only people who want erasure of nonwhite, non-Christian, non-American origin aspects of identity are bigots. Ms. LaFont and Ms. Stroud want standards which, by stressing similarities and eliding differences, desire the erasure of such aspects. What they want will result in a social studies curriculum that enables white, Christian, native-born children to grow up to be bigots and all others to be their victims. This would be the academic equivalent of ethnic cleansing.


This postmortem of a case involving a 75-year-old women who went missing from her home in Hillsboro last September sheds light on the bounds of law enforcement’s capacity to respond, especially in large rural jurisdictions such as Sierra County, and underscores the critical role the public, as well as concerned family and friends, can play in assisting a missing person’s search.

Reader Jane Debrott of Hillsboro commented: Thank you for your article on the tragic loss of Betsey. I am a resident of Hillsboro, a friend of Rick and Betsey, and a member of H.E.L.P. The thing that most distresses me now, is the emphasis on Rick’s mis-naming of the color of their car. I fear that this fact will cause Rick to feel that if he had only gotten the facts right, Betsey may have been rescued before it was too late. The incident was a series of unavoidable events, out of everyone’s control, and we will never know what place the correct color of her car may have had in the outcome. It breaks my heart to think that Rick has had one more thing added to his “what ifs” concerning this incident.

Diana Tittle responded: Dear Jane, the Sun undertook this investigation at the request of a Hillsboro resident concerned about the town’s inability to mount a prompt, coordinated response to the disappearance of a neighbor. From the beginning, I shared your concern about how our findings might affect Betsy’s family and friends. After I completed my research and began writing, I weighed each detail I eventually chose to include against my desire to cause no pain and the public’s right to know about the strengths and limitations of law enforcement’s response and the public’s need to know about how to be of meaningful assistance.

There was information I withheld about the state police investigation and the recovery. But I decided to include the issue of the car’s color because the individuals who spotted Betsy’s car emphasized how its color had been key to their identification of it as the vehicle described in Betsy’s Silver Alert. Because the misinformation was corrected within a couple of hours, I also included in this story the following editorial comment meant to put the error in perspective: “The fact that law enforcement throughout the state was on the lookout in the crucial early hours after Betsy’s disappearance for an elderly woman driving a “light blue” instead of a “silver” Accord would, in retrospect, likely not have changed the outcome of the search” [emphasis added].

I would also point to the story’s overarching conclusion about the inadvisability of assigning blame for what happened: “In this case, a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances, many of them beyond human control, hindered the search that it would fall to Hamilton’s department to lead.”

It is my hope that any pain caused by my reporting will eventually be outweighed by its contribution to a better community understanding of what it will take in the future to mount a successful missing person’s search in rural Sierra County.

1 thought on “T or C City Commission approves citizen’s request to site and name a 9/11 Memorial Park on city land”

  1. Susan Christie

    This is a wonderful project. We are certain that Addie will follow the guidelines and we encourage the people involved. This is the beginning of a project which has twists and turns often leading to the best possible outcome.

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