September 11 Memorial
In spring of 2011, Greenville Fire and 1st responder members learned of the Port Authority of NY/NJ World Trade Center Artifacts Program. The program began in early 2010 to solicit proposals for WTC steel to be used in public displays. Proposals were submitted by fire departments, police departments, communities, government facilities, museums, etc.
1027 steel artifacts from the WTC wreckage were designated for this program. In early summer, the Port Authority accepted the proposal that was submitted on behalf of the Fire Department, 1st responders, and Town of Greenville.
Greenville became one of approximately 23 sites in Wisconsin to be granted the responsibility of displaying WTC artifacts. On Saturday August 27th, the Town of Greenville received 2 structural beams recovered from the World Trade Center wreckage after 9-11. They are both approximately 13 feet in length and 2700 lbs each. They were part of the exoskeleton of the towers that everyone is familiar with. See the photos above. The artifacts were escorted into Greenville by a 19 agency, 35 emergency-vehicle procession. People lined the procession route that started in Kaukauna. They waved, saluted, held American flags, or stood in silent reflection as the beams rolled by. The procession was followed by a Veterans/Fire/EMS Appreciation Ceremony where several speakers reflected on the events of 9-11 and on what the pieces represent. It was an emotional and solemn experience for all who took part.
The artifacts are on permanent loan by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the use in a public memorial that will be constructed in 2012. The 9-11 Memorial will be part of the memorial square at the west end of the public safety building. The dedication date has been set for August 25, 2012. Below is a model of the memorial design created by Greenville resident and FVTC instructor Jim Beard.
Elements incorporated in the memorial will symbolize those lost on Flight 93, at the Pentagon and at Ground Zero. The memorial will be a solemn and physical connection to the events of September 11th and to ensure we “never forget” those who lost their lives on that day. The Town of Greenville, Greenville Fire, and Greenville EMS are proud to have the honor of being the caretakers of these pieces of national history.
In spring of 2012, a September 11th Memorial construction committee was put together consisting of Fire/EMS personnel, Greenville residents, veterans, and members of Town government. This gave people from all walks of life the opportunity to contribute to the planning and construction of the Memorial. Ground was broken on July 11th and construction continued until the final touches were made on August, 22nd. Over 160 people and businesses donated materials, labor, money, and services to the construction. Many others helped plan and participated in the memorial dedication and unveiling. The Greenville September 11th Memorial was dedicated on August 25th, 2012.
Town residents, visitors from out of town, Police, Fire, EMS, Veterans, Soldiers, and Elected officials from all over the state were in attendance. Several hundred people attended the dedication which was very solemn and emotional. Guest speakers included: Walter Zerrenner, a Greenville resident who worked in New York at the time. He witnessed the smoke pouring out of the North Tower from inside commercial jet liner. He also witnessed the city shut down due to the disaster. Another guest speaker was Luke Laidley who worked for Morgan Stanley on the 61st floor of the South Tower. He felt the building shudder from the impact of United Airlines flight #175. He worked 16 floors below the crash site and escaped the dark and smoke-filled building
The last guest speaker was Lt. Joe Torrillo, a retired New York City firefighter who was buried in the rubble of the collapse and rescued by other firefighters. Since 9-11, he’s been telling his account of that day so that people don’t ever forget. He also volunteers as a guide at the Ground Zero
9-11 Memorial in New York.
Symbolism is heavily incorporated in the Memorial’s design. The pond represents the hole in the ground at Shanksville, PA and those that died on United Airlines Flight #93. The stone patio in front of the beams represents the Pentagon (same shape) and those that died there. The beams represent and are positioned in a similar way to the Twin Towers. While standing on the Pentagon patio and looking at the beams, you are actually facing Ground Zero. A waterfall in the pond ties our Greenville Memorial to the 9-11 Memorial in New York which also incorporates waterfalls. The red stripe in the wall represents firefighters, especially the 343 that died on 9-11. The crab tree represents the Survivor Tree at the New York Memorial. That pear tree was nearly destroyed by the wreckage of the Twin Towers, but was nursed back to life.
The roses represent the survivors, Veterans, Police, Fire, and EMS.
Not enough thanks can be said for all those who had a hand in any aspect of the Memorial’s planning, construction, and unveiling. The project is not complete, however. A plaque will be erected in 2013 that will recognize contributors to the Memorial’s planning, construction, and unveiling. Plaque(s) will also describe the Memorial’s symbolism. Your continued generosity is still needed to complete the project and provide funding for future maintenance of the site. Please click on the 9-11 Memorial Donation Form link on the Town’s homepage or contact the Town at 920-757-5151 to find out how you can donate.