EDITORIAL: 9-11 memorial is fitting tribute to first responders

Mar. 27, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

What do Chatham County and the former World Trade Center in New York City have in common?

You'll remember that a group from Chatham was able to obtain a donated steel beam from the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the attacks of 9/11.

Now, the Chatham County 9/11 First Responders Memorial Foundation Corporation is working toward the creation of a First Responders Memorial that will include the remnant of the tragedy. The site will be located on U.S. 15-501 just south of the traffic circle in Pittsboro. Appropriately, that's right across from the Pittsboro Fire Department.

A groundbreaking event will be held at 1 p.m. Friday. The completion is expected in September 2014.

The memorial will have a unique design. Jody Allen, president of the foundation and a Goldston firefighter, said, "The concept is to stand the beam on end, but tilt it at 9 degrees and 11 minutes facing directly toward Ground Zero."

In an effort to raise money for the memorial, the group is selling Foundation Coins at $15 each. In addition, the group also is accepting donations for the cause, which can be sent to Chatham County 9/11 First Responders Memorial Foundation Corp., P.O. Box 328, Pittsboro, N.C. 27312.

It's difficult even now, more than a decade later, to reflect on the day that terrorists dealt a blow to our country. From the way we travel to our collective world view, our nation in many ways has become unrecognizable. So many innocent lives were lost, including numerous first responders who were trying to save lives in the aftermath of the attacks.

Time may pass, but the events of 9/11 will continue to resonate — and the memories of the more than 3,000 people who died will not be eroded. 

We honor their lives and the bravery of those who rushed toward, rather than away from, the devastation. After the disaster, it seemed that we all were inspired by their courage and stood more proudly and more honorably — uniting rather than letting our differences divide us.

Those police, fire and other emergency personnel who survived will say they were only doing their jobs — and indeed, they risk their lives daily to ensure safety for the rest of us.

Now, in Chatham County, a permanent memorial will always remind us of that fateful day — and hopefully keep us from taking the freedoms and way of life that we enjoy for granted.