Veterans memorial getting piece of 9/11 |

Veterans memorial getting piece of 9/11

Tamara Miller
Special to the DailyA sketch of what the aerial view of the Freedom Park Memorial will be. Image courtesy of Shepherd Resources.

EDWARDS – A local tribute to war veterans, police, firefighters and paramedics will bear a remnant of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Organizers of the Freedom Park Memorial, which will be built on the west side of the Berry Creek pond in Edwards, were able to secure a piece of limestone from the part of the Pentagon that was destroyed in the attack. Avon Police Chief Jeff Layman said the rock symbolizes the sacrifices public safety employees make for Americans. “I think it’s totally appropriate and I’m honored that they were able to get a piece of the Pentagon for this memorial for our county,” he said. The 3- by 8-foot block of limestone is expected to arrive in Eagle County on March 5, and will be displayed throughout the county. The tour will essentially serve as a kick-off for a series of events the committee has scheduled to generate enthusiasm for the memorial.Memorial effort moving quicklyOperation Freedom Park Memorial is moving full-speed ahead with design plans, a list of kick-off events and a ground-breaking ceremony planned for April 15.

Organizing committee members Pat Hammon and Buddy Sims showed a design for the park to the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday. Plans calls for a walking path – which will be named Freedom Trail – that will take visitors by seven stops, each representing a major war: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terrorism. The veterans memorial will on the south side of the walking path. The memorial dedicated for public safety workers will be at the north end. And the Pentagon rock will be placed in the stop dedicated to the war on terrorism.The memorial will list the names of Eagle County residents who have died in the line of duty, Hammon said. So far, the committee has a list of five people who died while working as firefighters, police and paramedics, and 30 war veterans, two going back as far as the Civil War.The memorial will be the first of its kind in the country for two reasons, Hammon said. Firstly, the memorial will honor veterans and public safety workers. Secondly, part of the memorial’s intent is to be an educational tool for local teachers, she said. “People who live here can go and learn about our past history,” Sims said. The cost of the memorial is estimated to be $2.4 million, which will paid for with donations and pledges. Construction won’t begin until all the money is raised, Hammon said. The goal is to have the memorial finished and open to the public by fall.”Our fund-raisers are optimistic,” Hammon told the commissioners. People across the country tour veterans’ memorials, and Hammon said she expects money to come in from outside the county and the state.A celebration

The memorial committee also has rounded up another surprise: A visit from the United States Air Force Band timed with the memorial park’s ground-breaking ceremony. This will be the first time the 65-piece concert band has visited the valley, Sims said. He originally contacted the band to perform at the memorial when its complete. Sims was immediately informed that the wait-time to have the band perform typically was two years. Soon after, however, Sims got an e-mail that the band would be traveling through the region in April and might be able to make a stop in Eagle County. The band committed to two concerts and possibly even a few workshops at local schools.”They are the ambassadors for the Air Force,” Sims said. “That’s why we are all so excited. We think if we can get them here once and be good hosts to them, we’re hoping they will come back.” =====================================================Freedom Rock TourA piece of limestone from the part of the Pentagon destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will displayed throughout Eagle County on March 5. Here is the tentative schedule:• Vail, 10 a.m.

• Minturn, 10:45 a.m.• Eagle-Vail, 11 a.m.• Avon, 11:45 a.m.• Edwards, 12:45 p.m.• Eagle, 1:30 p.m.• Gypsum, 2:30 p.m. The rock also will be on display around the county until the April 15 ground-breaking ceremony for the Freedom Park Memorial.=====================================================United States Air Force Band performances

April 14:• 6:30 p.m. Free public concert at the Vilar CenterApril 15• 3 p.m. Freedom Park ground-breaking ceremony in Edwards• 6:30 Free public concert at the Vilar Center======================================================Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or, Colorado

Support Local Journalism