SUISUN CITY — The Suisun City Fire Department dedicated its new 9/11 memorial Wednesday after a years-long effort to put it in place.
A crowd of firefighters, police officers and residents surrounded two steel beams from the World Trade Center as a red bell rang to honor those killed in the terrorist attacks that occurred 12 years ago in New York, at the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania.
“This is dedicated to those who suffered and are still suffering from this heinous act,” said Fire Chief Mike O’Brien.
The beams, obtained by O’Brien two years ago, have been stored in the Fire Department’s corporation yard while O’Brien maneuvered municipal red tape to erect the memorial in front of the fire station.
After obtaining approval and some money, O’Brien and fellow firefighters rushed to construct a memorial in time for the 12th anniversary of 9/11.
“We built this in two weeks,” O’Brien said.
The beams, propped by slabs of recycled granite, form a cross – or shallow X – in front of the Fire Department’s flagpole. Two parallel pathways edged with red brick represent the twin towers.
“It’s here for the community,” O’Brien said.
Marlene Renfro, of Suisun City, came to the memorial dedication ceremony with her daughter and two grandchildren.
“I would drive by and see the guys out here working on it,” she said.
Renfro’s 12-year-old grandson, Jesse Mercado, was just a baby when the towers fell. His mother Michelle de Mercado said the tribute was sobering.
“It’s still like a fresh wound, even though it’s been 12 years,” she said. “It affected so many people. You think of the lives that were lost . . . it’s huge.”
“You feel the pain of those people,” she said.
O’Brien said several visitors – some from New York – had already visited the memorial during the day, leaving flowers and tributes near the beams.
“I wasn’t expecting that kind of response,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful day.”
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.