WACO, Texas (KXAN/AP) - President Barack Obama has ordered that the U.S. flag at federal buildings and military facilities in Texas be flown at half-staff Thursday in memory of the victims who died in the fertilizer plant explosion last week in the town of West, Texas.
Obama signed the proclamation Wednesday.
The President will attend a memorial service for the victims on Thursday at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Organizers are expecting the Ferrell Center to be a packed. Around 4,000 uniformed first responders are expected to be in attendance, and the memorial is open to the public.
The memorial will serve as a time to honor those who lost their lives in the line of duty. It was a process that began in West on Wednesday when Capt. Kenneth Harris Jr. was laid to rest.
"We have volunteers from all over the country bringing food and water-well, we're bringing support, we're bringing honor," a Central Texas patriot guard rider said. "We're coming up from Killeen every day except Sunday from now through next Friday. It's just important to be here for the community."
At the Ferrell Center, two sections of the arena are reserved for West citizens. City leaders suggest getting there early.
"Residents should arrive as early as 10:00 a.m.," Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek said. "Earlier you get there the better it is."
The service begins at 2 p.m., but the day's events start well before that. At 11 a.m., firefighters and other first responders will march in a processional to the center.
Some 300 fire trucks from across the country will line the route. The march is expected to take two hours.
Doors at the arena will open at 11a.m. and remain open until 1:45 p.m., or until the center reaches capacity. University officials said those attending will go through airport-like security. Cameras and cell phones will be allowed.
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