Leon County and KCCI Announce 9/11 Memorial Featuring World Trade Center Beam
Leon County Government and KCCI Community Catalysts today announced the creation of a memorial honoring the lives lost during the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This Saturday will be the 20th anniversary of the attacks. The “September 11 Memorial at Florida’s Capital City” will be installed over the next few months at the American Red Cross headquarters and feature a steel beam from the South Tower of the World Trade Center acquired by Michael Terhune, retired Tallahassee Fire Department Lt. Paramedic and Iraqi Freedom veteran Chief Hospital Corpsman. The memorial is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
“Leon County is honored to partner with donor Michael Terhune and KCCI to bring this memorial to our community,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Rick Minor. “The September 11 Memorial at Florida’s Capital City will be a place to reflect and remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost that fateful day.”
The memorial will feature a segment of steel beam at the center of a base shaped like the Pentagon building and will act as a sundial – highlighting a series of surrounding bricks that track key moments of the morning of September 11, 2001, beginning when the first plane struck the World Trade Center’s North Tower at 8:46 a.m.
“As we approach the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the County is proud and humbled to help make this 9/11 memorial possible,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “The memorial will serve as a moving testament to the lives lost and the sense of unity and service that followed the attacks two decades ago.”
The memorial and design are the vision of Terhune, who acquired the beam in 2011 from the September 11th Families’ Association. Terhune, a local firefighter for nearly three decades, served 24 years in the Navy Reserve and was deployed twice to Iraq after 9/11.
“This memorial will serve as a reminder of a point in history that plays a huge, important role in how we live our lives today,” said Terhune. “At no point ever in a single day have we ever lost that many firemen. That made it feel so important to do something to honor the firefighters, the citizens who died and the more than 5,000 who died later in the war on terror.”
The memorial will be located on land donated by Leon County and in coordination with the nearby Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross headquarters is a fitting location for the memorial because of the organization’s mobilization following the events of 9/11, providing meals to first responders, offering emotional support and health services to those affected, and setting up a mobile disaster command center at the Pentagon. The KCCI 2021 Community Catalyst team is helping with site planning, local government approvals, project execution and more.
“Many of us remember exactly where we were when the 9/11 attacks happened and knew someone who was impacted,” said Betsy Couch, KCCI’s Executive Director. “This artistic memorial will provide us with a place to honor the 9/11 victims and heroes while also reflecting on the events from that day.”
KCCI’s 2021 Community Catalyst class has focused on creating more art in public places in Leon County. Their efforts to date were focused on the expansion and sustainability of Art of the Box, a project that deters graffiti and gives local artists the opportunity to exhibit art outdoors in the public realm by having their artwork printed onto vinyl and then wrapped around utility and traffic control boxes. Thus far, 20 boxes have been covered with artwork by local artists.
“The KCCI Community Catalyst team jumped at the opportunity to help bring this lasting tribute to the North Florida region when Project Guardian first approached KCCI,” said Ali Palmer, KCCI Community Catalyst and Community Planner at Kimley-Horn. “This memorial will not only be a stunning work of art; it will provide a sanctuary accessible to visitors of all backgrounds to honor those who lost their lives that day.”
The memorial is a collaboration between Leon County Government, Michael Terhune of Project Guardian Inc., KCCI, and several local businesses.
“We are so very honored to have the opportunity to be the site of this incredible memorial,” said Sharon Tyler, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Capital Area Chapter. “Throughout the years, the Red Cross has shown up to support both citizens and first responders in disasters, and this memorial will help us not only remember the sacrifices of so many but will also inspire others to serve with us.”
Donations toward the memorial can be made on Team Guardian’s website and Facebook page.