Acushnet Fire Department Commemorates 9/11 With Heartfelt Memorial
It’s been 20 years since the devastating terrorist attack in New York City on September 11, 2001, but for many people, it still feels like it was yesterday. Families on the SouthCoast will come together this year and commemorate the lives lost and the heroic men and women that saved countless lives.
The Acushnet Fire Department has always made a point to host a ceremony, and on the 20th year, it’s only fitting to shine a light on the beautiful memorial that sits in front of their fire station.
Acushnet Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher shared the story of how a single beam from the World Trade Center was transported to the station in 2011.
“It was awarded to us based on the Port Authority of New York,” Gallagher said. “They had a program that you applied for, to take remnants of the trade center and provide them to communities who wanted to have a publicly accessible monument.”
Gallagher and the station sent over their letter of interest immediately, and after the legal process was sorted, Gallagher and firefighters Eric Arruda and Paul Martins drove to the hangar in New York to retrieve a steel beam that was a part of the World Trade Center.
“The steel beam made a quick stop in Fairhaven where it was transferred by crane, thanks to Dennis Hudson, from the bed of the pick-up to a beautiful vehicle owned by New Bedford firefighter Shawn Foley,” said Gallagher on Facebook. As the beam was escorted to Fire Station #1, Gallagher was in awe at the number of people standing on the sidewalks watching, and for the crowd of people that formed for their arrival.
“We knew this was an honor, but we didn’t understand how important this would be to the community,” Gallagher said. “Building the memorial was a community-wide event, we were just the coordinators.”
Every ounce of labor and every piece of construction added was done at no cost.
From local construction workers, to professors, to dedicated citizens, the memorial began to take shape. Now, the 2,700-pound steel beam sits on top of its granite base, which has a story of its own.
“We were fortunate to receive a stone from Shanksville, Pennsylvania and a piece of the damaged Pentagon,” Gallagher said. The granite from the Pentagon was used to hold the beam. There is even a document listing the names of the members of the department at that time in the middle of the base.
In the wake of such a terrible event, the community came together to show honor and respect for the fallen. A fighting spirit and giving attitude outweighed everything else during the creation of the memorial 10 years ago. Twenty years later, its meaning remains as strong as its granite base.
“When I look at it, I see the three items that witnessed that horrible day, but I also see the community spirit and the sense of volunteerism that Acushnet stepped up and provided to us,” Gallagher said.
Like every other year, the Acushnet Fire Department is proud to host a remembrance ceremony on Saturday, September 11 at 6 p.m. in front of the fire station.
We will never forget, and Acushnet is proud to memorialize the heroes and the lives lost those 20 years ago.
Join Chief Gallagher as he takes you on a journey of the memorial's construction.