ROCKFORD - Thousands lost their lives that day, and as time passes the memorial built will stand forever as a symbol of local and national unity- and as a message for our community to “always remember, never forget.”
Welder's attach two steel beams salvaged from New York's World Trade Center after the 9/11 terror attacks. They're installing them for permanent display at the Winnebago County Emergency Responders Memorial.
Will Pederson, the board president of Winnebago County 9/11 Emergency Responders Memorial and Lieutenant with the Rockford Fire Department took some time to chat with us about the importance of this monument, and how hard he and his team worked to bring it to Rockford.
"It took about fifteen months to secure that, to go through the whole process to secure that we were actually in fact going to get steel beams from the trade towers. This is actually very special."
A dedication ceremony was held Friday morning at the memorial site at the Criminal Justice Center.
The 1000-pound beams were provided to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 14 years ago. "9-11 was a national event that took place,” said “Dave” Davis. “And as far as I'm concerned, this is a national monument in the city of Rockford. So that is fantastic."
Davis is an Army veteran who served his country for 23 years, and is now the President of the Winnebago County Veteran’s Association.
This memorial will serve to honor any Winnebago County emergency responders who lost their lives, and as a reminder of the events and those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the 9/11 attacks.
"It comes down to the fact that some gave all,” said Pederson. “And we're happy to be here remembering them." The walkway features bricks with 40 stars- one for each of the passengers lost in the flight that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The memorial is also planning on displaying on its white walls the twenty-eight names of local police and emergency responders who lost their lives in the line of duty.
"It's important to show the unity, and it serves as a very good reminder we go out there every day,” said Chief Todd Stockburger, the Police Chief of the Village of Winnebago. “We work very hard, we work collaboratively with police, fire and EMS, everybody works together."
Three 9 foot sculptures will be unveiled when the memorial is completed a year from today.