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9/11 beams installed at Bremerton park

Dave Fergus (left) and Margie Torbron chat after the steel beams from the World Trade Center were placed in Evergreen Park last Saturday. A dedication is planned for Sept. 11. - Seraine Page
Dave Fergus (left) and Margie Torbron chat after the steel beams from the World Trade Center were placed in Evergreen Park last Saturday. A dedication is planned for Sept. 11.
— image credit: Seraine Page

There’s no denying that the steel beams look right in place at the Kitsap 9/11 Memorial.

The memorial, based in Evergreen Rotary Park in Bremerton, will be completed by the 12th anniversary of the attacks on America. The design incorporates metal that was found in the rubble at the World Trade Center site.

“They fit like a glove,” said Roy Lusk, chairman of the Kitsap 9/11 memorial. Lusk estimated that around 150 people came out to the lifting and placement of the beams on Saturday. The memorial is still not finished, but committee members of the project are hopeful it will get done.

When asked how it felt to finally have the beams in place after weeks of looking at the metal beams sitting on the back on a semi truck, Lusk slapped a hand to his chest and let out a sigh with tears in his eyes.

Just like the folks who watched the beams rise up, Lusk is proud to have the piece of history call Bremerton home. He’s equally proud of the volunteers who have camped out 24 hours every day since the artifacts arrived on site. The original plan was that the round-the-clock volunteer watch would end once the beams were in place. But Lusk believes the volunteers are showing extreme dedication in their newest actions.

“They’re gonna watch the place until all construction materials are gone,” he said.

In addition to the beams from the WTC, the memorial will also have a piece of the concrete from the Pentagon and soil from the Shanksville, Pa. site where Flight 93 crashed. The soil came from a friend of Margie and Jack Torbron.

“We are representing all three locations,” said Margie Torbron, a Kitsap 9/11 Memorial committee member. Torbron, who was present for the placement of the beams, said she cried upon seeing the metal pieces sitting upright.

“I kept having goosebumps,” she said.

The memorial is a special place to the couple, and it also reminds the two of what could have been a very different fate. Jack Torbron, who worked for Keyport, was to be in the Pentagon on 9/11.

His meeting got canceled the day before.

“I have no explanation for it,” the former government worker said.

Although he is not part of the committee, Torbron said he is happy to volunteer his time and effort with his wife in assisting with the memorial project.

Even though the location of the attacks are nearly 3,000 miles away, the pair thinks that Bremerton is still a good location for a memorial.

“It was an attack on America...and Washington State is part of America,” said Margie Torbron. “I believe this is a good place for it. I’m proud and honored to be a part of this.”

Dave Fergus, a designer with Rice Fergus Miller, took an active role in helping the design come along. As a designer, he wanted to portray the story of the American people during 9/11.

“To me, 9/11 is a story about people. It’s about strangers helping strangers to survive. The more I talk to people, the harder it is to imagine how horrifying the event was,” he said. “We should remember those who saved others.”

Although he admits there are many thoughtful details — such as the curvy sidewalk which reflects everything from Americans’ emotions to the detour the planes took — he doesn’t believe there need to be signs explaining each aspect of the design. He hopes people will figure it out for themselves, and that they won’t just focus on the front-and-center beams.

“It’s a learning and discovery sort of memorial,” he said. “I hope people kinda figure it out.”

Upon closer inspection of the beams, Fergus said that he believes the smaller one may have been a piece lower on a tower because of the “webbing” which lends itself for heavy support. The larger beam may have been near the site of impact, Fergus believes, because a section of the beam did not rust, which would have been due to high heat, or a process known as “tempering.”

As for which tower the beams came from, Fergus said no one will ever know.

The project is still under construction, but it is expected to be finished in time for the dedication ceremony on Sept. 11. The memorial dedication and remembrance ceremony will be at Evergreen Rotary Park at 6 p.m. in Bremerton. Contact Margie Torbron at info@kitsap911memorial.org for more information.

 

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