Posted: Sep 9, 2011 10:26 PM by Matt Stafford
Updated: Sep 11, 2011 5:26 AM
Many of this year's incoming freshmen at the U.S. Air Force Academy were born in 1993; making them eight years old during the September 11th terrorist attack. One cadet pointed out that she didn't know exactly what was going on, but the panic and distress left an impact on her. All of the cadets at the Academy signed up for military service in a post-9/11 world.
On Friday the Air Force Academy dedicated a new memorial to those who lost their lives in the attacks.
The memorial is made up of two pieces of marble symbolizing the two towers, and in between them is an actual piece from one of the towers. They know it's a floor beam but they don't know from where. The base of the memorial is the shape of the Pentagon; all of the sides are polished except for one to show where it was hit. Inscribed on the base are the three sites that planes hit that day; "World Trade Center", "Pentagon", and "Shanksville, PA".
Don Addy, president of the Homeland Defense Foundation, has been working since October of 2009 trying to get pieces from the towers to be used in local memorials. He called the Air Force Academy to see if it was something they would be interested in.
When AFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould heard about the possibility of bringing a piece of the World Trade Center to make a memorial on Campus, he decided it should go somewhere that cadets would see often; possibly a reminder of the challenges they'll have ahead.
Lt. Gen. Gould got emotional when talking about the floor beam in the memorial, and what it stood for.
"We all will always remember, and the memories are what cause a lot of people to choke up. I think it's good for us; to strengthen that resolve to continue the fight," says Lt. Gen. Gould.
First responders from New York were also at AFA's memorial dedication on Friday. Two of them said memorials like this remind them of the friends they lost that day. They're also very proud of the military men and women that they say are continuing their work.
Addy hopes to create four or five similar memorials around Colorado Springs, as well as provide an artifact to be used on the torch for the Warrior Games.