It is a day that none of us will ever be able to erase from our memories. I remember being herded into the gymnasium for an emergency assembly as hundreds of students and teachers wore worried and confused looks upon their faces. The same shallowfeeling still returns on every anniversary of the tragic event that has changed the world so drastically. Everyone remembers where they were during the moment that they found out about the terrorist attacks on September 11th and now Meaford holds a large piece of this history. On Tuesday September 11th 2012, residents gathered to witness the unveiling of a powerful symbol of bravery in Meaford, Ontario. The Meaford Fire Department was fortunate to receive a twenty foot steel support beam from the World Trade Centre. Only six fire departments in all of Canada received such an honour. The crowd stood in awe as a small child bellowed out the Canadian national anthem, followed by a young woman singing the American national anthem. The American and Canadian flags flapped in the wind as people gathered to witness this monumental occasion. Silence fell upon the crowd as the black sheet was lifted from the memorial site to unveil the rustic and weathered beam that once supported the World Trade Centre in New York.
MP Larry Miller spoke of the beam as a “credit not only to the Meaford Fire Department, but to fire departments in general.” He also stated that this monument “highlights the sacrifice that people made.” Miller presented Fire Chief Mike Molloy with a plaque to commemorate the official unveiling of this symbolic beam. Of the many honoured speakers at this event, the man that designed the memorial itself shared his insight with the eager crowd.Thomas Dean is a Landscape Architect that won the bid to construct a monument for this historical beam. Dean expressed that “when I first saw this piece [it was] an overbearing impression… what a story it told.” In fact, Dean highlighted that the biggest challenge was overcoming restraint since the twenty foot rustic beam “tells its own story well.” The design itself is ripe with symbolism as the edges of the bed mimic the sharp edges of the beam and the blossoming tree provides a symbol of hope. The sacrifices that were made eleven years ago and continue to be made today as a result of this terrorist attack must hold a place in our memories. This memorial provides local people with an opportunity to experience a glimpse of history in their own backyard. It is truly amazing that such a crucial symbol of sacrifice and bravery lies on Meaford soil and is accessible to residents and visitors alike.