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Piece of WTC is part of Yuma memorial
A piece of a tower from the World Trade Center, incorporated into a Yuma memorial, will commemorate the lives lost in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
During a Wednesday morning ceremony, the Yuma Fire Department will unveil a memorial built with a section of I-beam recovered from one of the twin towers.
The ceremony will start at 9:30 a.m. at Station No. 1, 353 S. 3rd Ave. Parts of the ceremony are timed to coincide with the fall of the first tower.
The memorial was built by YFD personnel and local construction workers to honor the more than 3,000 lives, including more than 400 firefighters and police officers, killed during the attacks in New York City, the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and in a field in Shanksville, Pa.
“Especially for fire service, the loss of 343 individuals is very significant,” Mike Erfert, YFD spokesman, said.
“Commemorating that is something that is kept in our memory and is not forgotten. (The memorial was) created and dedicated to the firefighters and law enforcement officers and the innocents who lost their lives.”
The memorial design is based on original concept drawings by local artist Debra Erfert.
“We’ve come to call it the artifact,” Erfert said. “It’s a rough piece of steel that’s been through tough times.”
The section of I-beam, 24 inches long and weighing 160 pounds, was given to the fire department by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Local officials had heard that a number of pieces of the WTC were being incorporated into memorials across the country.
“We had to jump through quite a few hoops to get it,” Erfert said.
It took several months, but the department was able to acquire a piece “though official sources.”
“There were a lot of people and steps involved from the first steps in acquiring the artifact to the completion of the construction,” Erfert explained.
From the beginning, officials wanted it for a memorial at the new fire station.
“First we needed to finish the station,” he noted. “There were several stages of construction, from the welding, to the construction of the site at Station One where it was going to be placed, to the wiring, lighting, etc.”
Their goal was to unveil it for this year’s anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
During Wednesday’s ceremony, invited officials will assist members of the Yuma fire and police departments’ Honor Guard in unveiling the memorial.
The ceremony will include patriotic music by the Yuma High School Band, posting and retiring of colors by the Honor Guard, a moment of silence, the singing of the National Anthem by Zack Roe, a former YFD co-operative education student from Kofa High School, and performances by the United Yuma Fire Fighters Association Pipe and Drum Unit.
In addition, the fire department will set up this evening the annual Sept. 11 display up at YFD Station No. 2, 3284 S. Avenue A, with 343 flags honoring the 343 fire service personnel who lost their lives at the WTC. This display will stay up until Thursday morning.