SUISUN CITY — The Suisun City Fire Department’s memorial to those who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon 12 years ago on Sept. 11 is finally going up in front of the department’s station on Pintail Drive.
The memorial, which consists of two sections of a steel beam from the World Trade Center and designed by Suisun Fire Department driver/operator Steve Gunther, was completed Thursday afternoon by volunteer firefighters.
“My original design was to put them (the two sections) straight up, like the World Trade Center towers,” said Gunther, who was working with a half-dozen other firefighters to put the finishing touches to the memorial.
Instead, the beams rest like a shallow X on concrete donated from the city from when it built the fireplace in the Harbor Square courtyard. The World Trade Center’s towers will be represented by the two granite walkways that lead to the memorial. It will also be lighted at night by red, white and blue lights.
“It is a permanent-temporary design so that if we ever have to move the Fire Department, we can move the memorial with us,” Gunther said.
Two years ago, Suisun City Fire Chief Mike O’Brien, Suisun City firefighters and their supporters battled through New York Port Authority bureaucratic red tape that threatened to keep the two 10-foot-long steel beams from arriving here in time to be part of the community’s 10th anniversary memorial of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
They then turned to raising money needed to turn the support beams into a 9/11 memorial sculpture. The beams spent much of their first year on a trailer behind Suisun City Hall before being stored away. A tall steel 9/11 sculpture created by a Suisun City welder is still on display inside City Hall.
Home Depot donated all the paving stones for the pathway, while other supporters donated money. The city’s Public Works Department gave the firefighters all the tools they needed to build the memorial.
O’Brien wanted the public art in front of the fire station to remind people of what happened on 9/11 and to memorialize the people who died that day.
Firefighter John Tepley said it meant a lot to him to help build what he called “such an important piece of sculpture” for the community.
“It is to show appreciation and respect for those who died on 9/11,” Tepley said.
O’Brien said he is thrilled to see the memorial finished.
The Fire Department will mark the anniversary of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers at 7 a.m. Wednesday with an honor guard ringing the fire station’s bell. There will be a formal ceremony at the fire station at 7 p.m. to dedicate the memorial and to remember the victims of 9/11.
“It took a long time to get the steel. Now it’s going to be out there for the public and people will be able to come by and see it. It is a fitting memorial to keep the memory of 9/11 alive,” O’Brien said.
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