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Pentagon rock tours Eagle County

Tamara Miller
Preston Utley/Vail DailySix-year-old Kyatt Johnson of Gypsum sticks a finger into one of the holes of the 2-by-6-foot limestone, which was once attached to the Pentagon.
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EAGLE COUNTY – It may just look like a rock, but to many it means much more.On Saturday, a convoy of police, firefighters and ambulance crews carried an eight-foot block of limestone that was torn off the Pentagon in Sept. 11 attacks through Eagle County. Jane Kebler, a Leadville resident who was standing in the Wal-Mart parking lot as the tour came through Avon, got a little emotional as she watched the procession.”It makes me think of freedom,” she said.

The limestone, dedicated by the U.S. Department of Defense, will eventually become part of a memorial for war veterans, police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other public safety workers. Organizers hoped the tour would spark interest in the memorial, which will be built in Edwards’ Freedom Park.Saturday’s event was the kick-off for an aggressive $2.4 million fund-raising effort. Aggressive, because organizers want to break ground on the project on April 15. Construction won’t begin until all the money is raised, said Pat Hammon, one of the organizers.Fellow organizer Buddy Sims and his wife, Bonnie, retrieved the rock in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. The couple made it back to Eagle County Friday night, just in time for the tour. Along the way, the couple handed out brochures in hopes of attracting out-of-state donors for the memorial. People across the country tour veterans’ memorials and organizers expect money to come in from outside the county and the state.

The memorial will list the names of Eagle County residents who have died in the line of duty. Design plans call for a walking path called Freedom Trail. There will be seven stops along the trail, each representing wars in American history. In the meantime, the rock will be stored in the Eagle County Eagle County Maintenance Facility.The limestone is “quite a tribute” to local public safety workers, said Lt. George Wilson of the Eagle River Fire Protection District. While some of Wilson’s colleagues were participating in the tour, he and a crew remained on duty at the Avon fire station. Of the thousands who died in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., hundreds were firefighters and police officers who were trying to rescue victims.



“I think it is very special because a lot of men and women in general have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Wilson said.Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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