It was a somber day across the nation as Americans marked the 12th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In Delaware, Governor Jack Markell joined service members, first responders and family of the military at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover for a special unveiling of a new 9/11 memorial.
Made of steel beams from the World Trade Center and stone from both the Pentagon and the crash site of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, the 9/11 memorial is Delaware’s own way of remembering the lives of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks as well as the first responders who also scarified their lives in the aftermath.
The Eagle Firefighters Association of the Dover Air Force Base spent three years collecting the money as well as the materials to construct the memorial.
“We petitioned the New York City and New Jersey Port Authority for those pieces of steel,” explained Captain Aaron Weisenberger, president of the Eagle Firefighters Association of DAFB. “They have a program where they were more than willing to donate those pieces of steel as long as you use them in a memorial. A bunch of our firefighters went up, about a year ago to Shanksville, PA and obtained a rock from near the crash site.”
The final piece of the memorial, a large stone from the Pentagon was donated earlier this week.
Martyn Nevin, retired manager of the Urban Search and Rescue and Weapons of Mass Destruction for Dauphin County, PA, Emergency Management Agency, was the guest speaker of the memorial dedication ceremony.
“The bells have tolled once again today for each and every firefighter and responder who died as a result as the events of 9/11,” said Martyn Nevil. “Today we meet here for this brief time together to openly recognize and remember with others the lives of those brave men and women.”
Nevin, a former member of the Air National Guard was among the many first responders on 9/11 who worked tirelessly in the search and rescue efforts.
“Experiencing first hand, the carnage and the magnitude of the world trade center response changed each of our lives forever,” said Nevin. “Many of our members were indeed personal friends and professional colleagues with officers and members of New York task force one, FEMA urban search and rescue. This department single element within the New York fire department, sustained the highest number of causalities of any FDNY organization on that day.”
Gov. Markell said the great thing about our nation is that we have the ability to persevere through tragedy and start new beginnings. He also commended the service members for their work.
“We pick up the pieces and I’m, so incredibly grateful to men and women of the Dover Air Force Base then and the men and women of the Dover Air Force Base now,” said Markell.
Service members also received a special visit from NASCAR’s Kyle Busch. The racecar driver stopped by the base for a tour and donated 1,500 tickets to USO Delaware.
“We appreciate their support and we appreciate everything they’ve done to be airmen or airwomen and it’s exciting to be able to see the memorial here of course and the airplanes that are staged here and to meet the people and thank them for what they do,” said Busch.
The 9/11 memorial is located outside of the Air Mobility Command Museum at the Dover Air Force Base. It’s open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.