It is hard to believe that our journey with the Artifact from the 9/11 Terrorist Attack is about to take a very different path. We have anticipated this moment for just over 2 years, the moment when we would break ground and begin the construction of the permanent Memorial Site at the Fulton County Fairgrounds. The Fulton County 9/11 Memorial Committee would be unjust if we said that we don’t have mixed emotions regarding the ground breaking event. Our journey has been one far beyond the honor of receiving and memorializing a piece of steel from one of the towers.
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For those of you that may not have been following this journey, let me try to summarize it for you. Feb 2011, Wauseon Asst Chief Rick Sluder announced at the County Association Dinner that Artifact H-0035A had been awarded to Wauseon Fire Department and that department voted to extend the recipient list to all the Fulton County Fire Departments, Law Enforcement Agencies and Veterans. The mere thought of 9/11 bought tears to many eyes but to be honored with responsibility of passing on the story to the generations to come was more than many could imagine. A team assembled and headed to New York, knowing nothing more than they needed a big trailer and lots of insurance to transport the piece home. When Rick Sluder made that announcement, little did he know of the how this was going to touch the lives of a some small town heroes. The journey started here, one large piece of steel, two American flags that covered it and many people who believe in our freedom and will not allow terrorism to defeat that spirit. In short, our journey has been as close as our back yards, an hour drive north into Michigan, 12 hour drive south to Savannah GA, a military flight to Germany and into the hands of our heroes, the Rangers in Afghanistan. We have seen it’s sprit fly on the Flag pole an Army base in Afghanistan and we have seen its sprit on the flag pole at the Fifth Third Field on 4th of July. Our 9/11 Journey will make a trip to Indianapolis to complete a memorial climb. There really is only two more places we believe we need to visit to complete the journey, Washington DC at the Pentagon and Whitehouse. We have seen veteran’s touch the beam and shed tears, we have seen civilians reach out cautiously for fear of the emotion they may feel and we have enjoyed the questions of curious young children as the smile brightly to get their pictures taken with the Artifact and the Flags that covered her. Artifact H-0035A is ready for her permanent place in our community.
In addition to the groundbreaking ceremony, there will be a larger event planned in the May/June time frame when the beam will be set in the memorial. Details to this event will come as the event is pulled together. The date of this event will be determined after ground breaking and we see how the construction schedule progresses.
If anyone is interested in a more details account of the journey please contact Dawn Hamer of the Lyons Royalton Fire Department or email firstname.lastname@example.org.