The limestone at Freedom Park’s 9/11 memorial is from the Pentagon’s west wall, and it almost didn’t make it to Edwards

Did you realize that we have a 9/11 Memorial here in Eagle County?

If you are old enough to remember, you know exactly where you were when you learned about the Twin Towers being hit. September 11, 2001 went down as the deadliest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, killing nearly 3,000 people and injuring over 6,000 others.

As we approach the 18th anniversary of 9/11, many wonder what they can do or where they can go to honor those whose lives were lost. There are many service days planned at various schools and communities across the United States, but did you realize that we have a 9/11 Memorial here in Eagle County? 

Many refer to the large pond and land surrounding it between Colorado Mountain College and the Mountain Recreation building in Edwards as the dog park. On the west end of that pond sits a piece of limestone weighing in at 600 pounds from the Pentagon west wall. This fragment was part of the damage and rubble of the 9/11 attacks from American Airlines Flight 77. It is one of approximately 100 pieces of limestone that was saved for memorials across the United States.

The piece that made it to Edwards didn’t get here easily. In today’s video, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Buddy Sims recounts the story from its genesis to fruition. Snowstorms, lack of equipment, security clearances and lots of red tape almost prevented this historical piece from being delivered to Eagle County. But with the help of active-duty officers, government contractors, military retirees and Congressional staffers, they braved the snowstorm and loaded it up in Washington, D.C.

That limestone became the centerpiece for the Freedom Park Memorial thanks to the Freedom Park Memorial Committee, the Minturn VFW Post 10721 and over a dozen local contractors who donated time and materials. It took some creativity and ingenuity to figure out how to display it. Most remarkable is the 22,000-pound concrete pyramid and metal arm designed by Tab Bonidy, of Tab Associates, Inc., that holds the limestone 10 feet in the air.

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The Freedom Park Memorial not only commemorates 9/11 but also honors fallen veterans, police and emergency personnel from Eagle County. Last night, emergency service workers and others were recognized at an awards dinner at the Donovan pavilion and today 120 golfers will tee off in the annual 9/11 golf tournament at Eagle-Vail Golf Club. There will also be a ceremony held today at Freedom Park in Edwards from 2 to 3 p.m. Prior to the ceremony, there will be a procession of emergency vehicles departing from Ford Park in Vail at 1:30 p.m. and arriving at Freedom Park around 2 p.m. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

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