MTSU community assists with construction of 9/11 memorial
A Sept. 11 memorial is slated to open during the 10th annual community fair Tuesday at the Sheriff’s Department.
MTSU students and alumni took the opportunity to help with the project throughout the past year.
“The concrete was donated. We donated the forms, two days labor, a couple of my guys and things like that.”said Josh Cornwall of Dusty & Sons, and a former graduate of Concrete Industry Management at MTSU.
Cornwall added that his team did all the forming and laying of the concrete for the memorial.
Current students of the Concrete Industry Management major also contributed to the project.
“I got to help with the placing of the ‘ground zero’ debris between the columns, handling pieces of broken glass, coffee cups, a busted VHS tape, twisted rebar, concrete block chunks, broken picture frames and a damaged clock set to 8:46 [when the first plane hit the north tower], as well as smashing concrete blocks into coarse, fine and dust size pieces to add to the debris,” said Chad Rutledge, a senior majoring in concrete industry management. “While working, I thought about all of those people in the building who didn’t make it out, and their friends and family who would never see them again.”
The main focus of the memorial is the 3,000-pound I-beam, which was recovered from the ruins of Tower One.
In addition to the beam, four flagpoles will be placed, each to honor the passengers in the four planes from Sept. 11. Three poles will hold the American flag, the Tennessee state flag and a 9/11 memorial flag. The fourth pole will hold a rotation of flags representing the four branches of the U.S. military.
“The Fire Department will have the honor of raising the flags,” said Deputy Greg Dotson. “They lost more people than any other department.”
An honor guard consisting of officers from the Rutherford County Fire Department, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and officers from the LaVergne, Smyrna and Murfreesboro Police Departments will perform a three volley rifle salute the day of the unveiling.
Every aspect of the memorial has its own specific significance.
The shortest column of the memorial represents the Emergency Medical System, the second column represents the New York Police Department and law-enforcement officers, while the tallest column represents the New York Fire Department personnel who entered the towers while trying to evacuate.
Construction began Sept. 7, 2011, four days before the planned community fair, and the beam itself arrived on Feb. 11, 2011. Nationally-owned businesses donated materials to the project along with various local businesses, including Alley-Cassetty Brick and Block and Art Directions.
“No tax dollars went into the monument’s construction,” Dotson said. “I’m proud to say that almost everything was done through donations of money, time and resources.”
Fundraising for the project is ongoing, with commemorative coins and inscribed bricks still available for purchase to help with future upkeep expenses. Bricks can also be purchased the day of the fair.
The coins are priced at $10 each. The bricks come in two sizes and come inscribed with the words of the buyer’s choice. The 8’ x 4’ bricks sell for $50 and can contain up to 45 characters, and the 8’ x 8’ bricks sell for $100 and can contain up to 90 characters.
For more information on the monument or fundraising, call the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department at (615)-904-3033.