NEW BUFFALO — A service remembering the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was held on the 18th anniversary in New Buffalo Township’s Memorial Park, where a steel I-beam from ground zero stands at the center of a 9/11 Memorial Garden.
“On that sunny, warm September morning 246 people woke up and headed to the airport for their morning flights, 2,606 people woe in preparation for work that morning, 343 firefighters came to work for their morning shift, 60 police officers woke up for their morning patrol, and eight paramedics also got up to start their morning shift. The reason we come together today is to remember those whose lives were cut short so tragically, and those who lost their lives trying to save others,” said New Buffalo Township Supervisor Michelle Heit.
Heit then referred to the monument: “This eight-foot, 1,800-pound beam from the World Trade Center is a reminder of that awful day. But it can also remind us of the sacrifices that our firefighters and police officers make every day. We thank the men and women that have stepped up to serve and protect us. They risk their lives and too often give their lives keeping us safe. We owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Members of the New Buffalo City and Township fire departments participated in the ceremony, taking turns reading from a timeline of the attacks and related occurrences that took place on that Tuesday morning in New York City, Washington D.C. and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
Township Fire Chief Jamie Flick started with the 8:46 a.m. entry: “Hijackers crash American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 with 92 people aboard, into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.”
The timeline concluded with an 8:30 p.m. speech by President George W. Bush in which he declared America and it’s allies would “stand together to win the war against terrorism.”
The I-beam from the World Trade Center arrived in New Buffalo on July 21, 2011, draped in an American Flag on a trailer that was the focus of a half-mile-long procession of emergency vehicles.
Responding to a nationwide offer from the New York Port Authority, former Township Fire Chief Charlie Maroney had filled out an application to receive a remnant of one of the Center’s two towers. Members of the Township Fire Department made a 1,400-mile round-trip to Manhattan in three days to bring the I-beam to New Buffalo Township Hall, where about 150 people were waiting at Memorial Park to observe and participate in the brief ceremony that included a flag-folding ceremony and 21-gun salute by members of the Honor Guard of New Buffalo American Legion Post 169.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the 9/11 Memorial Garden featuring the I-beam that now stands in the park was held on Sept. 11 of 2011.
Local artist Roger Harvey was responsible for the overall concept and design of the memorial garden. Two black six foot squares representing the Twin Towers are set in a grid patterned concrete walkway, the two squares duplicate the position of the real towers. Each tower has an informative plaque embedded in the concrete, the tower design and the plaques are all flush with the walkway.