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Brown City dedicates memorial to firefighters killed on 9/11

by Candice Miller on September 20, 2011

Lapeer County Press
BROWN CITY — The 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States was marked by somber ceremonies across the country — including one here in our own hometown when the Brown City Fire Dept. and community dedicated a memorial to firefighters killed on that dark day in our country’s history.
Attended by more than 2,500 people from throughout the Thumb region, it was a day of American flag waving as well as quiet reflection and the shedding of tears by many who attended the memorial event held under bright sunny skies. But it was also a day of celebration and pride by members of the local fire, police and medical first responder community, and their families, who gathered for the memorial dedication that features a steel beam recovered from the World Trade Center debris.
“I brought my 10-yearold grandson to the memorial. I wanted him to understand what happened that day to us,” said Karl Hooper, 67, of Burnside Township. “It’s one thing to read about it in the newspaper, or watch it on TV, but I wanted to be here for this today (Sept. 11, 2011) when our local community dedicated such an impressive memorial. It’s quite beautiful, even though it’s from a tragedy that killed nearly 3,000 Americans that day 10 years ago.”
Constructed on a corner of property at the Brown City Fire Dept. hall on Main Street, the 9/11 memorial honors the 343 New York City-area firefighters who died when the Twin Towers collapsed.
“We represent the fire service today, but this (memorial) is for all the victims of Sept. 11,” commented Jim Groat Jr., chief of the Brown City Fire Dept. “We appreciate you all coming out today. It means a lot to all of us, but it says a lot about our Brown City community that we were able to do this.”
Backdrop for the event was a large American flag that gently waved in the afternoon breeze, hung between the aerial trucks of the Sandusky and Yale fire departments. A color guard from the Fraser Dept. of Public Safety stood at attention in front of the memorial space while guest speakers addressed the crowd.
Speakers included: Asst. Chief Dewey Johnston; Dale Eschenburgh of the Firemen’s Fundraising Committee; Sanilac County Commissioner Jamie Daws; Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki; 83rd state Rep. Paul Muxlow; 31st state Sen. Mike Green; a spokesman for Congresswoman Candice Miller’s office; Sandusky Fire Dept. Chief Todd Hillman and Pastor Maureen Baker of United Methodist Church.
Groat and a group of Brown City firefighters picked up the 19-foot long beam on June 16 from a hanger at New York’s JFK Airport where it had been stored for nearly a decade.

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