Friday’s 9/11 First Responder Memorial will be a closed event, but gathering is allowed along procession route |

Friday’s 9/11 First Responder Memorial will be a closed event, but gathering is allowed along procession route

Convoy of first responder vehicles gets rolling from Vail at 6:30 p.m.

COVID-19 has affected the way many events have been held in 2020 and Friday’s annual First Responder Memorial on 9/11 Patriots Day will be altered this year as well. What normally has been an invitation to the public to gather at Freedom Park in Edwards will now be focused on gathering along the procession route.

“Trooper Jeff Briggs from the Colorado State Patrol 4C Eagle Troop, our main coordinator of the event, and I have discussed this and it has been decided that the gathering of the first responders at Ford Park and the actual memorial ceremony will be closed to the public to ensure the safety of the first responders involved as a precaution,” said Al Zepeda, an officer with the Avon Police Department and a post commander with the VFW in Minturn. “However, if the community wishes to participate, they are highly encouraged to do so by lining the procession route in support of our first responders,” Zepeda said.

Friday’s route is as follows:

  • Convoy leaves Ford Park at 6:30 p.m.
  • Emergency vehicles will travel down S. Frontage Road traveling east to the main Vail Roundabout
  • Emergency vehicles will head south on Vail Road and turn west onto W. Meadow Dr.
  • Vehicles will go past Station 2 and Vail Health and then onto W. Meadow Drive to E. Lionshead Circle
  • Vehicles will turn onto S. Frontage Road where they will head west on S. Frontage to the Red Sandstone roundabout crossing to N. Frontage Road West
  • Vehicles will enter I-70 West at the 171 exit from West Vail
  • Vehicles will then travel Highway 6 to Avon Road headed north on Avon Road to West Beaver Creek Blvd.
  • Vehicles will travel west on West Beaver Creek Blvd. back to Highway 6.
  • Vehicles will continue on Highway 6 to Edwards Access Road where it will go north to Miller Ranch Road and Miller Ranch Road to Freedom Park.

“As much as we’d love to have the public gather and show support, it’s best that we social distance this year. But, we’d like to express our gratitude to the community for their continued support,” Zepeda said.

You are still welcome to gather at Freedom Park in Edwards and visit the Freedom Park Memorial in honor of Patriots Day. On the west end of the 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.

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.

The Freedom Park Memorial not only commemorates 9/11, but also honors fallen veterans, police and emergency personnel from Eagle County.

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