2011-09-07 / Front Page

Thousands expected at 9/11 memorial

September 11 artifact to be dedicated Sunday
BY ERIC LEVINE editor


Brown City firemen Mike Van Cura, right, and Jim Groat Sr., father of Fire Chief Jim Groat Jr., pose at the new Sept. 11 memorial constructed on the west side of the fire hall. They’re standing next to the steel column from the World Trade Center that serves as the center piece of the memorial which also features two headstones, a podium and commemorative bricks. 
Photo by Eric Levine Brown City firemen Mike Van Cura, right, and Jim Groat Sr., father of Fire Chief Jim Groat Jr., pose at the new Sept. 11 memorial constructed on the west side of the fire hall. They’re standing next to the steel column from the World Trade Center that serves as the center piece of the memorial which also features two headstones, a podium and commemorative bricks. Photo by Eric Levine BROWN CITY — Ten years after the worst attack in our nation’s history, this community will dedicate a memorial to the firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Brown City Fire Department’s three year quest to secure a piece of the World Trade Center in New York, destroyed by terrorist hijacked airplanes ten years ago, is completed.

This Sunday the memorial, which has as its center piece a 19-foot long steel Ibeam from the Trade Center’s twin towers, will be dedicated in front of an audience of firefighters, police and emergency medical personnel from around the Thumb area, along with hundreds, if not thousands of spectators.


This headstone depicts the famous photograph of firemen raising the American flag in the rubble of the World Trade Center. This headstone depicts the famous photograph of firemen raising the American flag in the rubble of the World Trade Center. “We’re just guessing 2,000 (people). But it could be 500, or 2,500,” said Brown City Fire Chief Jim Groat Jr., who, accompanied by other members of his department, transported the steel column from New York City to the fire hall on June 16.

Since then, the fire department has secured donations to construct the memorial, including the sale of 140 commemorative bricks.

“It’s gone together very well, a lot ot work, dedication by firemen, friends, neighbors,” said Groat. “We have great, great community support, it isn’t just the fire department. Money has come as far as Colorado to buy a brick - a cousin of one of the firefighters, she plans on flying in for the event.”


The writing on the top of the podium tells the story of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed thousands of people, including 343 firefighters who responded to the World Trade Center. The writing on the top of the podium tells the story of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed thousands of people, including 343 firefighters who responded to the World Trade Center. The dedication begins at 12 p.m., rain or shine, with a procession of uniformed fire, police and emergency medical personnel led by a color guard from Fraser and a bag piper.

A handful of speakers will address the crowd who will be gathered on the west side of the fire hall at 4090 Main Street.

The speakers will include Groat and his assistant fire chief, Dewy Johnston, who filled out the successful application for the twin towers’ artifact; Sanilac County Emergency Management Director Todd Hillman; County Commissioner Jamie Daws; State Representative Paul Muxlow; local farmer and Tri-City Times writer Doug Hunter; Rev. Maureen Baker from Brown City United Methodist Church; Dale Eschenburg from the fire department’s fundraising committee; and a representative of Congresswoman Candice Miller.


This headstone depicts the World Trade Center’s twin towers before the Sept. 11 attack. This headstone depicts the World Trade Center’s twin towers before the Sept. 11 attack. The program will last about an hour and a half, said Groat, after which everyone will be invited to mingle, view the memorial, and enjoy free food compliments of various businesses.

“Three thousand one-hundred fifty hot dogs”, will be ready for the crowd, Groat stated. “Tell everyone to pray for rain.”

He hopes the public “enjoys it, and reflects on September 11th, one of the worst days in our nation but one of the proudest - everyone stood together and took a lot of pride in America that day - and still do.”

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