Erie Prepares to Break Ground on 9/11 Memorial - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Erie Prepares to Break Ground on 9/11 Memorial

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On Friday the new World Trade Center was topped with a spire, making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

After two years of planning, Erie will house a part of our national story with our own 9/11 memorial.

 "People from across the country were applying to New York Port Authority to obtain an artifact or steel beam," said Mark Aleksandrowicz, the Chair of the memorial project.

Over 1,000 pieces from the rubble were retained from the site of the attack for memorials like the one we'll soon see.

"It kind of grew from the idea of just simply putting a steel beam in the ground... with a sign, to becoming an entire memorial," Aleksandrowicz said.

After more than a year of looking for the perfect place for the monument, the memorial found a resting place at Erie's Blasco Library.

"We thought about public access, visibility... really for the long term that it could be seen, that it could be accessible, that it could be touched," said Aleksandrowicz.

It's a beacon of hope and national unity for all, but for some people in Erie it has more personal significance.

"Shortly before it got here that's when we started to hear about people in this community with ties to New York City so it kind of grew from there," Aleksandrowicz said.

One of those people was Laura Grappy, who worked as a responder at the World Trade Center site in the weeks after the attack.

"This is our country's history and it's just regular people doing regular things right here from our community that took part in extraordinary measures," she said. 

The community is invited to be a part of the ground breaking on Thursday May 16, but you won't just be watching the ceremony.

Aleksandrowicz. said, "It's kind of a B-Y-O-S event, bring your own shovel."

The ceremony, and the memorial will honor the brave, and serve as a teaching tool.

"It represents who we were as a community, what we walked in together as a country, and the legacy that were leaving behind for education and the people that were involved in it," Grappy said.

The memorial won't just be outside, it's actually two fold. An educational center inside the library will share the history of September 11th with younger generations.

"What I've grown to know is that as time has gone by there's a generation that is coming up that wasn't born when 9/11 happened and they're going to learn it in the history books," said Grappy. "They're also going to be able to walk by this memorial and touch it and know the people from this community that made a difference."

If you would like to donate to the memorial, click here.

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