"Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts," said President George W. Bush following the attacks on 9/11. "The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror."
The Northwest Ohio 9/11 Memorial, located at the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton, Ohio, was unveiled following the completion of construction phase 1 on Sept. 11, 2016. Airmen with the 180FW, service members and civilians across the country marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11, when nearly 3,000 innocent lives were lost during the attacks.
"This memorial represents a day in American history that every American remembers to the minute of what they were doing at that time," said Col. Kevin Doyle, commander of the 180FW. "That day changed American lives forever."
The memorial is one of just three known in the United States to include relics of all three impact sites of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001: beams from the World Trade Center, limestone from the Pentagon and soil from the Pennsylvania field where Flight 93 crashed. Nearly 3,000 glass ingots, one for each life lost, were hand-crafted and incorporated into the memorial. The memorial is essentially a clock face with podiums marking the time of each significant event. Every year at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, the flag pole will cast a shadow through the steel beams of the World Trade Center, marking the time of the first plane's impact.
"This memorial honors those American lives lost that day on which American freedom came under attack," said Doyle. "[It also honors] the lives that have been lost since [9/11] in the fight against terror."
"The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge -- huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger," said Bush. "These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation."
A brief (2:05) music video overview of the 180th Fighter Wing 9-11 Memorial. Our thanks to 180th Fighter Wing Ohio National Guard member by Master Sgt. George Wolfe.
An especially important note of thanks to Senior Master Sergeant Elizabeth Holliker for her outstanding leadership and support in the effort to complete the Northwest Ohio 9/11 Memorial.
Herman Schwebes, Senior Master Sergeant, believed the events of 9/11/01 needed to be remembered in a special way in Northwest Ohio. Challenged by a superior officer to "make it happen", SMSgt. Schwebes secured a beam from the World Trade Center, limestone from the Pentagon, and soil from the Pennsylvania field where Flight 93 ended.
Two past members of the 180th, Bob Buchwald and Tim Fry were also founding members of the jdi group, an architectural and engineering design firm headquartered in Maumee, Ohio. The jdi group took on a project management role for the Memorial through a staff member and also former 180th member, Brian Lauderman. The jdi group brought the project to the attention of their peers in N.W. Ohio when, on August 20, 2015, members of the 180th Air National Guard presented their concept for a 9/11 Memorial to the TRACE Board of Directors.
Toledo Regional Architects, Contractors and Engineers was an advocacy group from 2009 - 2017. TRACE members supported the 180th Fighter Wing Ohio Air National Guard by providing design, engineering, pre-construction and construction services to bring their 9/11 Memorial concept to fruition.
Pauline Glaza, owner of Enhanced Publications, served on the TRACE Marketing Committee from 2009 - 2013 and as TRACE Executive Director from October of 2013 through September of 2016.
Members of the 180th Air National Guard were invited to submit ideas for the memorial's design and this was the winning entry
by SSgt Matthew Crawford.
TRACE members worked through design concepts and construction details with a focus on long-term durability and ease of maintenance. A life size layout of the memorial is seen below in the far right image.
Many organizations across Northwest Ohio helped to fund the memorial, including members of The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Toledo Rotary Club/Toledo Rotary Foundation, The Andersons Foundation, Key Bank, and numerous individual businesses and citizens.
Matt Paskiet hand crafted nearly 3,000 glass pieces -- one for each soul lost in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Each individual piece is a work of art requiring skilled extrusion work plus additional time cutting, sanding and buffing each piece. White stars symbolize civilians lost; Green indicate Military members; Red show Firefighters; Blue denominate Police/Security personnel and Dark Blue indicate EMS members. "I was moved by each and every star," explained Matt. "Every life is precious and I felt a connection to each person who perished that day as I made these."
The shadow of the flagpole falls across the clock face of the Northwest Ohio 9/11 Memorial located at the center of the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton, Ohio, on the morning of the anniversary of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, marking the exact time the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center. The monument memorializes the loss of nearly 3,000 lives during the attacks and since. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hughes)
See footage of the Dedication Ceremony and hear from many involved in the project, including Project Manager Brian Lauderman.