BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Western New Yorkers planted thousands of small flags Sunday outside the American Red Cross Clement Mansion.
The nearly 3,000 flags are meant to honor each person who lost their life in the attacks on September 11th. The American Red Cross says those flags also represent the first responders who risked their lives to protect others that fateful day.
Members of the Western New York Families of September 11 planted the flags Sunday.
"For us, the flags represent the lives lost on September 11, 2001, 15 years ago," said Leigh Macadlo, a member of the organization who lost her twin brother, Leonardo M. Castrianno, in the terrorist attacks. Castrianno had worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the World Trade Center's 105th floor.
This year, the American Red Cross is also giving community members the chance to help save lives by donating blood during a special blood drive that will be held on Sept. 9 in observance of 9/11 Day. The blood drive will be held from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Clement Mansion, at 786 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo.
The American Red Cross has it's work cut out for it when it comes to collecting blood to meet the needs of patients in the New York-Penn Region as well as across the country.
Each day the Red Cross must collect an estimated 1,000 units for the 87 hospitals it serves in the New York-Penn Region. Nationwide, the Red Cross must collect about 14,000 units of blood to meet the needs of patients in about 2,600 hospitals nationwide.
Red Cross Donor Recruitment Manager of the Buffalo District Vicki Smith says donating blood is a noble way to give back in the memory of the lives lost 15 years ago.
"September 11th was one of the darkest days in American history," Smith said. "Donating blood and giving the gift of life is a profound way to honor the victims we lost and the heroes who rose up to service on 9/11."