Photos: Northern Kentucky 9/11 Memorial Unveiled in Ceremony
Sat, 09/12/2015 - 10:35 RCN Newsdesk
Fourteen years ago the world changed. Peoples' eyes were opened to a new kind of warfare, a cruel kind targeting innocent men, women, and children. September 11, 2001 is a day that will live in infamy, right along with the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. No one who lived through September 11 will be able to forget the shock and horror of being attacked on American soil, and the resulting tremendous loss of life.
"This is a day we pause and remember where we were when evildoers attacked us," said WKRC-TV's John Lomax, who served as master of ceremonies on Friday as the Northern Kentucky 9/11 Memorial was unveiled. "The memories are embedded, seared in our minds. That day our confidence was shaken, but unbroken."
On this the fourteenth anniversary of 9/11, the memorial was dedicated at Crescent Springs Memorial Park, near the Kenton County Veterans' Memorial at the corner of Buttermilk Pike and Collins Road. The threat of rain and persistent drizzle did not dampen the spirits of the more than seven hundred people who crowded the site to see the new memorial and pay tribute to the victims and the ones left behind.
"We are very proud of the memorial," said Crescent Springs Mayor Lou Hartfiel. "It began when the fire department was able to acquire a piece of the beam from Ground Zero. They asked us if we would build a memorial, and we said yes. That was almost four years ago."
The centerpiece of the memorial is a four foot piece of an actual I-beam from the World Trade Center which was presented to the Crescent Springs/Villa Hills Fire Department. The base of the memorial is shaped as a pentagon, to honor the five groups deeply affected by that historic day: the firefighters, the police, the airline industry, civilians, and the Pentagon. Rising from the base is a depiction of the twin towers that were destroyed on 9/11, and there is a timeline of the actual events as they took place, along with subtle images and tributes of each group involved.
The monument was designed by Nancy Holian.
"It began as a vision," Holian said. "It pays tribute to American courage, strength and resolve. It is going to be hard to see this monument without being inspired. It will renew patriotism."
Congressman Thomas Massie was the keynote speaker, and he talked about the fact that he was in Los Angeles waiting for a plane coming from Boston to take him home to his wife and children. That plane never arrived.
"I have read the report done in Washington and 28 pages of the report have never been made available to the relatives of the victims," Massie said. "Senator Rand Paul and I are trying to make those pages available. We want to know how this happened. While I am in Washington, I will do my best to make sure this kind of thing never happens again."
Third grade classes from Villa Madonna, River Ridge and St Joseph schools sang patriotic songs, and a men's quartet from Immanuel United Methodist also entertained with their own unique blend of voices. Senator Rand Paul sent a letter, as did Mitch McConnell's office.
State Senator Chris McDaniel of Taylor Mill and State Representative Diane St. Onge of Lakeside Park came to speak, as did retired Brigadier General Steve Hogan and Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann and Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Justice Michelle Keller. The Hamilton (OH), Boone, and Kenton County Sheriff's departments and the Covington Police Department were represented by Color Guards, rifle teams, and mounted patrols.
The people of Crescent Springs were joined by contributors from all over Northern Kentucky to raise the $150,000 needed to complete the memorial project. Almost all the money has come from private donations. The memorial is a place that people can come and remember, and teach children and grandchildren the lesson that brought Americans together and raised the incredible spirit of the American people out of the ashes of the twin towers.
People came and wandered slowly around the memorial, taking in the solemn beauty of the etched stone and stark reminder of the damaged beam.
"I think it is awesome," said Angela Snodgrass of Erlanger. "I get chills looking at it." Her sister, Jamie, agreed, saying it is a good place to visit with children who weren't born when the disaster happened.
Jeff Pohlman, Fire Chief in Alexandria and president of the Kentucky Firefighters Association was a firefighter when 9/11 happened, and he likened the memorial of the day to when his father told him about Pearl Harbor.
"I am sure that all the adults who were alive when this happened feel the same way," he said. "This has forever impacted my life. We will never forget."
Story & photos by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor