Two steel beams from “Ground Zero” in lower Manhattan stand erect on the lawn of Anne Arundel County’s Police and Fire Department’s headquarters. The structures, first placed there in 2009, honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives on a September morning just eight years earlier.
To celebrate and remember those men and women, a California man paid a visit to the Anne Arundel County Fire and Police Department Headquarters in Millersville.
Since Jan. 25 of this year, Craig Freeman of the Manhattan Beach Fire Department in California has been driving a large bus and visiting several hundred firehouses throughout the country to raise funds and awareness for the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 as a part of the “ 9-11 Patch Project.”
In a special ceremony Wednesday morning, the Californian earned recognition for the program from County Executive John Leopold and Craig Oldershaw, President of Anne Arundel County Professional Firefighters.
“On behalf of all the citizens, I am honored to welcome the Patch Project bus tour to our memorial as they travel on a nine-month U.S. tour to spread awareness about the continued anniversary of 9/11,” Leopold said.
As the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, the visit by the bus offered a reminder to be grateful for local emergency personnel, said Leopold.
“The slogan of ‘We Will Never Forget’ is very important. Those of us in public safety, we haven’t forgotten, we still deal with it every day,” Oldershaw said. “We’re a country in turmoil right now, this just brings it back to what we’re here for and what it’s really about.”
In addition to Leopold and Oldershaw, Chief of Police James Teare was in attendance to greet Freeman on his national tour, which ends Sept. 11 in New York City. He also said the tour faced several weather hurdles, including a tornado and two massive snow storms. He plans to return home to Ojai, CA by Nov. 1.
One the same day Freeman arrives in New York City, the second installment of of the headquarter's 9/11 memorial will be revealed at 8:30 a.m. The new addition will include six brozne plaques, benches and inscribed bricks in a circular path around the two steel beams, said David Abrams, director of communications for Anne Arundel County.