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Monday, September 12, 2011

First Responders

Hello Friends.

I hope you each had a spectacular weekend.  My weekend was filled to the brim with football games, the Marion Popcorn Festival, and remembering the events of 9/11/01.  

Last night as I watched one of the many specials, I saw hundreds of firefighters marching toward the one remaining tower and I wondered what was going through the minds of these brave men and women.  Certainly, it must have run through their minds that this may be the fire they don’t survive.  Still, they marched forward without a discernible instance of hesitancy.

While the heroism the first responders exhibited on 9/11 is irrefutable, the truth is there are first responders throughout the world who put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of the public daily.
Friday, during my lunch hour, I visited First Responders Park in Hilliard, Ohio.  My purpose for going was to take pictures to share with you on 9/11.  I was not quite prepared for the emotional impact of this visit.  

The park is dedicated to the first responders nationwide who sacrifice their personal safety to protect our citizens.  Although the memorial is in Hilliard, Ohio, it carries the message that no matter where you live, all Americans are stakeholders in the events of 9/11.

The focal point of the park is a unique sculpture by Ohio artist, Dale Johnson.  A new element will be added to the sculpture each year, making it an ever evolving piece.  The sculpture is made of individual cast and fabricated stainless steel figures, which were then welded together.
When you first look at the piece, you see that it represents the flames of the inferno which enveloped the towers.  Upon further inspection, you see the individual figures represent the people who perished in the flames. 
This amazing sculpture sets atop a platform, surrounded by a reflecting pool.  Fire hoses, 9 on one side and 11 on the other spray water into the pool.

Three granite walls, each representing the three places where planes crashed are engraved with the names of the victims who died on 9/11.
The sculpture below is made of fiberglass and represents the image of the tower remnants that remained standing.
I visited the World Trade Center and ate at Windows on the World when I was a senior in high school.  A month before the attacks, Jordan and I drove through New York as we drove home from Cape Cod.  I pointed out the buildings in the skyline and promised Jordan we would come back in the spring and we would tour some of them.

See those two really tall buildings?
Those are the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Therefore, the most powerful aspects of the park, for me, are the six tons of steel from the World Trade Center towers that are incorporated into the memorial.
Part of a support beam from Ground Zero sets alone.  No plaque with eloquent words.  After all, what could be said?

These railings are from the subway tunnel that ran under the towers.  I wonder if I ran my hand down this railing on my visit to the World Trade Center all those years ago…

If you know me personally, you know that I am fascinated by all things that fly.  I may be in the midst of a conversation, but will stop and look up if a plane or helicopter flies overhead….usually dreaming about being on board and flying off to somewhere exotic.
Friday as I approached this part of the park, an airliner flew overhead.  Honestly, it could not have been timed more appropriately.  I was chilled by the sound of the planes engines while my eyes took in the sight of this twisted metal.  I was drawn to touch the metal as I looked at it and I wondered what it must have been like for the rescue workers to look for survivors and deceased in endless piles of twisted metal.  What kind of psychological impact did this have on their lives?
Thank you to all the first responders who work daily to make our lives safer.  

To the Firefighters – thank you.
To the Peace Officers – thank you.
To the Emergency Medical Technicians – thank you.

To the two first responders who have 
a special place in my heart:

Lieutenant BJ Gruber
Marion Police Department

Jason Gruber
Scioto Valley Fire Department

Stay safe.
I am so proud of you.

Love, Aunt La


  1. That's an amazing park La! How interesting that the statue will be added to each year.

  2. Such a moving post La. My gratitude goes to all of them especially your two special ones. Thank you.

  3. A topic so near to my heart. Enjoyed seeing your photos.

  4. This was a great post and I enjoyed seeing the park with all the steel from the WTC. I know that since that time I can never look at a plane the same way I did before, unfortunately. xo,

  5. Great post. What a wonderful memorial.

    Also thanks for all the men and women in the service that fought for our freedom.

  6. This was really interesting. We watched a documentary last night that just happened to be filmed before, during and after 9/11. I already appreciated the first responders...the that film really shed new light on what they go through.

  7. La, This is a very good post. What an amazing memorial. Thanks for sharing.

  8. La, this is a beautiful tribute. I cried from beginning to the end! It is still so raw and my heart aches for such an evil loss of life... and for all the families affected.
    Fabulous memorial!
    xo Yvonne

  9. What a touching and special park and area of remembrance for 9-11. My brother was a FDNY for 30 years and his last firehouse was the 10 house which is right across from where the Towers stood. he knew so many of the firemen that perished that sad day.

    A big "thank you" to the hard work of your special first responders!

  10. Oh my God La, you made me cry. I am so proud of my son and of my nephew because of the "work" they do every day. But I am also very proud of all the other nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, brothers, husbands, father and father in law for all their work and little pieces they put into this huge world to make it a better place also. Keep up the good work La. You make my days!!


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See you soon! La