180th Fighter Wing honors fallen heroes of 9/11

180th Fighter Wing honors fallen heroes of 9/11
(Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL)
(Source: Facebook)
(Source: Facebook)
(Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL)

SWANTON, OH (WTOL) - The Ohio Air National Guard 180th Fighter Wing, based in Swanton, OH hosted a remembrance ceremony to commemorate the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

"I think it's really important to have something like this to teach our young people what happened that day. For those of us who were alive...it's the memory of the heroic loss that happened that day. It's a great touch stone between the past and the present," said Scott Reed, the 180th fighter wing vice commander.

The unveiling ceremony on Sunday morning had more than a thousand military men and women in attendance and a hundred members of the community.

The memorial itself includes artifacts from all three attack locations including limestone from the Pentagon, Steel beams from the World Trade Center and soil from where Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.

The memorial is still being worked on though, as the team behind it plans to commemorate the 2,977 lives lost with hand-crafted glass ingots embedded in markers representing the sites of the attacks.

Each life is signified by a distinctive color:

  • White – civilians
  • Green- Military
  • Blue- police
  • Dark blue- EMS
  • Red- Fire Fighters

The artist behind the glass multi-colored stars, Matt Paskiet, said he's honored to be able to be a part of such a monumental moment in history.

"It's really moving because when you think about it, when I think about it, as I make these, every one of these pieces signifies somebody's life and their moms and dads sisters brothers family and a whole network of people who were affected by this, including all of us," he said.

The final version of the memorial is expected to be completed in 2017.

On Saturday, the fighter wing released a video featuring current members of the 180th speaking about how 9/11 impacted them.

The video includes, among others, a 180th Airmen who was an active duty pilot at the time of the attacks, a public health officer who was in New York City on 9/11, and a staff sergeant who was in the 7th grade in 2001.

The Airmen offer their thoughts and experiences about where they were during the attacks, how life changed afterward and what the Northwest Ohio 9/11 Memorial will mean to the community as a whole.

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