September 14, 2011 —
Some 300 people turned out to see the unveiling of the World Trade Center monument in Eldred on September 10. In remarks prepared for the occasion, Town of Highland Supervisor Andy Boyar pointed to several connections between residents of the town, and the events of September 11, 2001, when hijackers reigned down terror from four jumbo jets on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
Perhaps most interesting was a “neighbor” that Boyar discussed who lived on Airport Road and was working on a project with Todd Beamer. Boyar said, “He received an email at 7:25 p.m. from Beamer saying that he would read over a proposal while on his flight to California the next day. His plane was Flight 93. And yes, he was the same Todd Beamer who uttered the now iconic call to action, “Are you guys ready, let’s roll.”
Beamer and his fellow passengers prevented Flight 93 from reaching the intended target, and perished along with the hijackers in a field in Shanksville, PA.
The monument, said Boyar, was created to keep the memories of the heroes and victims of 9/11 alive, but also to give family members of the 1,100 people, who vanished without a trace of their bodies being recovered, a place to reflect. Boyar said the monument is “a place to leave a flower or to say a prayer and perhaps gain some measure of closure.”
The monument itself consists of two towers made of steel, which support an artifact of the World Trade Center, a portion of a metal I-beam that was recovered from the wreckage.
The monument was designed and fabricated by the husband and wife design team of Walter Kenul and Janet Rutkowski, who have a home and studio in Barryville.
Rutkowski said after Boyar asked them to give input to the project, they met with the committee working on the memorial. She said, “They had a concept of Stonehenge, and the minute they said Stonehenge I drew something on a napkin and everyone loved it.”
At the end of Saturday’s ceremony, Father Thomas Jones, OFM, offered a prayer. It was one written by Chaplain Mychal Judd who attended the St. Joseph’s Seminary, now the Delaware Valley Job Corps, in Callicoon, with Jones many years ago. Judd was the chaplain of a firehouse in New York City and died at the WTC on September 11, 2011.
As part of his last homily at the dedication for a new firehouse the day before, Judd said, “Let us enjoy each others’ company. Thank you, God, for life.”