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Sep 12, 2011 7:18 PM by Andy Koen

9-11 memorials join Air Force and UCCS

A piece of steel, once surrounded by concrete and glass high above the New York skyline now stands watch over Colorado Springs. The artifact is part of a permanent memorial dedicated Monday morning at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.

Our community remains closely tied to the events September 11, 2001 and the Air Force Station in particular. Col. Joseph Turk, commander of the 721 Mission Support Group at Cheyenne Mountain says two order were given that day that didn't seem possible in a post-Cold War era. First, closing the blast doors and second downing any remaining air traffic flying over North America.

"The facility was designed for nuclear war, so we could maintain command and control of our nuclear weapons and response if we were attacked and on 9-11 that was the first time those have been shut for a hostile action," Col. Turk epxlained.

In honoring the victims of 9-11, the memorial has also brought together the community.
Engineering students from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs designed the monument as part of a partnership with the Air Force.

Peter Gorder, an associate professor with the UCCS Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering says the project holds special significance with his students.

"It is an amazing artifact that speaks beyond its metal material and bent configuration," he said.

Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station is a secure area which means the general public wont be able to see the memorial on a regular basis. Professor Gorder explains say because of that, he successfully lobbied to have a second, smaller monument put on campus.

It contains an artifact from the twin towers aw well and was also dedicated on Monday.

The campus memorial located near the engineering buildings and is positioned in such a way that the steel artifact inside points toward Cheyenne Mountain. The beam inside the Cheyenne Mountain memorial points toward New York.

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