Rutherford Countians will gather Tuesday during a solemn ceremony to dedicate the 9-11 Memorial for the 3,000 people who died from terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001, said Sheriff Robert Arnold.
The centerpiece of the memorial at the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is a 3,000-pound I-beam from Tower One of the World Trade Center in New York City. Four urns represent the victims of four commercial airlines that crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Sharpsville, Pa.
Retired sheriff’s Lt. Sheila Wright, whose daughter worked in New York City during the attacks, and retired Sgt. James Harrell were the catalysts in obtaining the I-beam for the memorial. Iraqi veteran David Judy transported the I-beam from New York City to the sheriff’s office in February 2011. The I-beam was unveiled Sept. 11, 2011.
Singer Paul Thomas of Murfreesboro, who appeared on NBC’s “The Voice,” will sing the Star Spangled Banner to open the dedication ceremony. And WGNS' Bart Walker will emcee this event, as he has each year since it began in 2002.
During the ceremony, the sheriff’s Color Guard will fire a 21-gun salute toward New York City and the Murfreesboro Fire Department will conduct a salute with a bell.
Boy Scout’s from the sheriff’s Explorer Post will raise the United States, Tennessee, military and 9-11 flags on four flagpoles. Rolling Thunder will present a POW/MIA flag.
Through cash and in-kind donations, the memorial was built during the past year without taxpayers’ cost. Memorial bricks purchased by citizens are part of the memorial.
“This memorial is an everlasting tribute to the victims who lost their lives and the military who has since fought to preserve America,” Arnold said.
The free event runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with inflatables and a petting zoo for children, displays of public safety equipment, activities by the U.S. Navy, martial arts demonstrations and booths for non-profit agencies. Zone Status will perform live music. Vendors will sell food.
Some parking is available at the sheriff’s office at 940 New Salem Highway. Other visitors may park at the Tennessee Expo Center on Park Avenue and the city of Murfreesboro’s Rover bus service will shuttle people to and from the sheriff’s office for free.