This week, I had the chance to spend some time at the All Patriots Memorial park in downtown Tiffin. Even though I previously had the chance to hear stories and read about it (and found it an amazing story), being there was a deeply moving experience.
The story is a good one. In August 2011, Tiffin was honored to be one of the select communities to receive a 17.5′ long, 6,268 pound piece of American history–a steel beam from the World Trade Center destroyed in terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. A group of police and fire fighters as well as community members got together, raised more than $375,000 locally in goods, services, and donations to make the 16,000 square foot Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial a reality. It was dedicated on September 9, 2012.
The site is full of symbolism:
- The date – The beam is set in granite at a 9.11 degree angle.
- The message – the words “Never Forget” are carved in huge letters on the setting and the phrase is used for national tragedies like 9/11.
- New York – the World Trade Center beam in the center still has the investigator’s ID written on it (“M-18”)
- New York – a Callery Pear tree, the same type as the Survivor Tree, has been planted at the site.
- Pentagon – The granite setting’s pentagon shape evokes the Pentagon attack.
- Pennsylvania (Flight 93) – a granite posts displays “In memory of Flight 93.”
- Pennsylvania (Flight 93) – the post is 40″ high, representing the 40 passengers and crew members who lost their lives.
- Pennsylvania (Flight 93) – there a dirt mound that represents the pile at the actual crash sight.
- Police & Fire – the names of Tiffin police and fire forces who fell in the line of duty is carved on the granite as well.
- Police & Fire – on one side of the US flag is the National Fallen Police flag; on the other the National Fallen Firefighters flag.
What I find even more significant is that this site has become a place for the community to not only remember 9/11 but also to come together to grieve and mourn other local and national tragedies, such as the Newtown, Connecticut shootings in December 2012.
Here are some additional pictures I snapped during my visit: