A Sugar Land firefighter’s effort to honor lives lost during terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, will culminate with the dedication of two ground zero memorial pieces during a special commemoration on the anniversary of the tragedy.
Sugar Land firefighters and police officers will gather on the steps of Sugar Land City Hall at Sunday, September 11, 8:45 a.m. – the same time American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower – to pay tribute to the many first-responders who died 10 years ago. Among the 2,753 victims who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center were 343 firefighters and 60 police officers from New York City and the Port Authority, and eight private emergency medical technicians and paramedics
The public is invited to be part of this special commemoration. Sugar Land’s ceremony will include the display of two artifacts – a twisted piece of metal with a small, remnant of fabric still attached and a portion of a steel beam – that were once part of the World Trade Center.
Firefighters will conduct a special bell ceremony called 5-5-5, which denotes a death in the line of duty and fire fighters final respects. Police officers will fire a 21-gun salute. In addition to the solemn remembrance, Sugar Land firefighters plan to gather earlier in the morning for a “Stair Climb,” an effort intended to honor the men who died by climbing the same number of steps.
Sugar Land firefighter Adam Palmer led the effort to obtain one of the ground zero memorial pieces after visiting http://911blogger.com/node/23113, a site detailing the Port Authority’s efforts to find new homes for “World Trade Center 9/11 Steel.”
Excerpts from his letter to the Port Authority follow:
A few of our departments past giving’s have been the 1947 Texas City detonation of approximately 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate on board the French-registered vessel SS Grandcamp in the port at Texas City, Texas, killing at least 581 people. The Sugar Land Fire Department responded giving many hours of support to this small devastated community. Another significant deployment for the Sugar Land Fire department was the sending of Lieutenant Greg Hopper to the response of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Lieutenant Hopper was a member of the Texas Task Force 1 at the time of the attack and responded spending 10 days working the pile at Ground Zero in the days following our nation’s greatest disaster. Sugar Land Fire Department continues to contribute in many ways today, such as having two Texas Task Force 1 members, hosting one of 8 State of Texas Type III Incident Management teams, and being an active part of our state mutual aid system.
The reason I am writing to you today, is to be able to always remember and commemorate the 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 NYPD officers, 37 Port Authority officers, and countless civilians lost, by gracefully memorializing a piece of the World Trade Center in our station. This will also serve as an anchor to carry our proud traditions and love for the fire service with us always.
The second steel beam artifact was acquired with the help of Turner Construction Company, the firm that built the City’s newest Fire Station #7 in Telfair. Turner Construction has a personal connection to the Sept. 11 tragedy – 12 employees in its New York office who were located in the World Trade Center’s North Tower. Turner Construction also assisted extensively in the Ground Zero clean-up.
The memorial pieces will be on display for the public in Town Square until noon with a special honor guard comprised of police, fire fighters and local Boy Scouts.