Tri-State Fire Protection District pushes to finish Sept. 11 memorial
By Sandy Illian Bosch email@example.com September 2, 2011 2:10PM
Scott Campbell and Matt Parris arrange stones around the 9/11 memorial that is under construction in front of the Tri-State Fire Station. The centerpiece is a piece from the World Trade Center. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
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A little more than two months after making the trip from New York, a piece of steel from the World Trade Center towers has become a lasting memorial outside the Tri-State Fire Protection District station.
“It’s pretty humbling,” said Battalion Chief Jack Mancione, who is leading the charge to finish the memorial for its dedication on Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
The memorial in front of the station on Plainfield Road surrounds an 8-foot piece of twisted I-beam salvaged from the ruins of the World Trade Center. The piece arrived at the Darien station on June 26. Before work began on construction of the memorial, the I-beam traveled to several locations, including several Chicago firehouses.
Mancione accompanied the piece, mounted on one of his company’s flatbeds, to a Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field.
“We had reactions from people sobbing to telling stories to begging to be able to touch it,” Mancione said.
He met people who were directly involved with the 9/11 attacks, even people who survived them.
The permanent memorial will serve as a place for people to remember and honor everyone affected by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, including the 343 firefighters who died that day.
The structure, designed by Mancione, will include a reflecting pool, an eternal flame, and benches where people can sit to think, to remember and to pray.
Mancione Improvements Construction Company of Westmont, which typically builds custom homes, has donated the labor and equipment needed to put the memorial together. “This is a little different,” Mancione said. “I’m honored to be able to do it.”
“The guys on shift have been helping me out on it, too,” he said.
The cost is being covered by donations from area companies and individuals, and there’s still time to help, Mancione said.
The dedication is set for 11 a.m. Sept. 11, to coincide with the opening of Darien Fest. The ceremony, which will include several elected officials, members of the VFW and the fire department honor guard, will be simulcast to a large video screen in Darien Community Park.
Mancione said he hopes people will remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001 every time they pass by the Plainfield Road memorial, and that it acts as a reminder of the things that are most important.
“It keeps life in perspective,” he said.