Indiana Daily Student

Still remembering 9/11

Officers from the Bloomington Fire Department gather and take photos with part of the world trade center during the 9/11 memorial ceremony Sunday morning at the Ivy Tech Bloomington Campus.
Officers from the Bloomington Fire Department gather and take photos with part of the world trade center during the 9/11 memorial ceremony Sunday morning at the Ivy Tech Bloomington Campus.

A young girl covered her ears at the sound of the 21 gun salute which broke the silence at the dedication of the 9/11 memorial at Ivy Tech.

Police, firefighters and families were early Sunday morning and shared in remembrance of the terrorist attacks from Sept. 11, 2001.

It is still present on most people’s minds and Americans remember where they were when they heard the news about the attacks, Ellettsville firefighter Travis Abrams said.

Abrams said he was painting when he heard that two planes had crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

On Sunday, a new memorial was dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at Ivy Tech in Bloomington. Mayor John Hamilton and the Bloomington Fire dept. Chaplain, Rev. Harold Godsey, both spoke of remembering the courage of those first responders and how America untied in the aftermath.

Before the Sept. 11 attack, Abrams said he was just beginning to get into volunteer firefighting, but after the attack, firefighting gained a new importance to him. Abrams also designed and did the limestone work for the memorial himself.

A steel beam from ground zero was placed on top of a limestone pentagon, between two pillars. The pentagon and the pillars represent the targets of the Sept. 11 attacks, The Pentagon and the twin towers.

Bob Loviscek, president of the Bloomington Professional Firefighters Local 586, said he had made this a personal project of his. He and his family drove out to New York, choose the steel beam and transported it back to Monroe County themselves.

“We owe them,” Loviscek said. “This is a respectful and fitting tribute.”

The beam is about 10 feet long and it is still covered in common concrete and rebar, a reinforcing steel. Perry Creek fire Dept. Lt. Aaron Robertson said that if the beam had been from any other building it would not be as important as this piece was for the ceremony.

Robertson also said he too remembers the day of the attacks. He said he was mowing a yard when his wife called him. He spent the rest of the day watching the news with seven or eight other men at the fire station.

Robertson said that he did not think that Monroe County would not have any trouble keeping the memory of the terrorist attacks alive.

“It’s never going to leave us,” Robertson said.

Bloomington Police Capt. Steve Kellams also attended the ceremony and said that BPD came out in support of the event and for the fire department since more firefighters had been lost in the attacks and the aftermath than police.

“We let fire take the lead in this even though it’s important to us,” Kellams said.

Kellams said that he had just got off the night shift at BPD and was sitting at home when he heard the news. He had been staying up to take his car in for some work the next day, but that once the news came out he could not do anything else.

“You didn’t leave the couch all day long,” Kellams said. “Everyone was in shock.”

Kellams said that the entire city was quiet at BPD, and he said he remembered maybe three service calls the entire day. 

Officers usually show up in a time of crisis and do not expect thanks for their job, Kellams said. But Kellams still remembers eating breakfast with his officers at the Cloverleaf the day after the attacks when a man walked across the room to him, stuck out his hand and said “thank you” for Kellam’s service.

“That meant a lot.” Kellams said. “It was an emotional event.”

As the ceremony Sunday ended, families and officers went up to the memorial to take their picture with the steel beam from ground zero. Several children of firefighters went up to get their picture taken, and Samson Dillard, the son of PCCFD chief Justin Dillard, went up and grabbed the beam with a smile.

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The 15 year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks this year, marks a time when those growing up do not have their own memories of the attack, and instead learn the attack as a part of history, Abrams said.

“It was a part of our lives,” Abrams said. “To them it’s history.”

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