Fort Carson honors 9/11 victims
June 28, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Fort Carson unveiled its World Trade Center Memorial within the memorial grove area near its main gate during a dedication ceremony held June 19.
The memorial honors the lives of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attack on the Twin Towers during the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
Placed permanently at the site is a twisted 17-foot-long steel I-beam, once part of the Twin Towers. In front of the beam lies a plaque with words honoring the many victims of the attack.
This was a day filled with mixed emotions for one Fort Carson Soldier, Capt. Patrick Dowdell, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who lost his father, a New York firefighter, in the attack.
"I feel very proud. He supported me being in the military and he loved his job in the fire department, so to put them all together, I know he'd be real proud that we're doing this. And the dedication isn't just to memorialize the (people) killed on 9/11, it's about everybody who sacrificed so much since," he said.
Members of the New York Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drum Corps were also present. The group, composed entirely of active and retired New York City firefighters, travels the country in support of such events.
"It's a special day; to have the support of not just the military, but the fire department and the guys who have flown out from New York to support this, it just means a lot," he said.
Dowdell's father-in-law, Ken Neudeck, along with other members of his Family, also attended the ceremony.
"It's a great honor to be here, to see this dedication on behalf of everybody in 9/11. I know Patrick worked very, very hard on it. We're extremely proud of him and we're very, very proud to be here," said Neudeck.
Fort Carson Good Neighbor Don Addy, president of the National Homeland Defense Foundation based in Colorado Springs, donated the I-beam for the memorial. Its meaning was not lost on anyone who attended.
"This is a truly monumental moment," said 1st Sgt. Henry Wilkins, 360th Transportation Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade. "To see the beam from the building itself, this is why you see my entire company here, to memorialize this moment, and honor (those) that were there."
More than 450 of the victims from the attack were firefighters or other emergency personnel.
"It's a proud day for us with the loss of the firefighters in the World Trade Center," said Glen Silloway, Fort Carson fire chief. "It's kind of a real moment for us, so it's a real honor for us to have this memorial here on Fort Carson.
"It puts our job into reality as far as what we can be expected to do every day. Those firefighters that went into those towers that day never expected to die ... but they weren't worried about their own lives ... they went in to save other people, so I think for me it puts our job into perspective," said Andrew York, firefighter and emergency medical technician, Fort Carson Fire Department.
Speaking at the event was fire Capt. Liam Flaherty, New York City Fire Department, who lost many friends in the attack. His words held great meaning to those who attended the event.
"In the FDNY, the term 'brother' is often used when we address a comrade. It's an affectionate term that relays the family atmosphere of the job, and the closeness we feel for each other. Today, I would like to take the liberty, and address all of you here as brother and sister, because that is exactly how the FDNY feels about you, and what you do for us," he said.
Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, spoke of the traits we Americans have that make us great.
"The one thing that has allowed our nation to continue on is the indomitable American spirit and determination. That alone is what has made our country (great). We are able to harness all of our resources and our strengths, but it is that American determination that holds freedom and liberty above all else," he said.
Many deaths occurred happened on the morning Flaherty called "the defining moment of our generation," and a new chapter began in the book that is America. Flaherty said his group's chapter is now complete, and now passes along to those who fight for our freedom.
"As we were winding down our operations and trying to get back to normal, we realized that this sad, horrific chapter of the book was drawing to a close," he said. "But a new, glorious and hopeful chapter was about to start, and it was to be written by our brothers and sisters from the armed forces. That chapter continues to be written today and thank you from the bottom of my heart."