TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Sixteen years after a day that continues to live fresh in the minds of Americans everywhere, the 180th Fighter Wing dedicated a memorial to remember the thousands of Americans who never came home on September 11, 2001.
The Northwest Ohio 9/11 Memorial is steeped in symbolism.
Each year, on September 11, at precisely 8:46 a.m., representing when the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center, the flag pole at the center of the memorial will cast its shadow between to I-beams representing the Twin Towns.
"I saw the Towers my whole entire childhood," said Senior Master Sgt. Herman Schwebes, U.S. Air Force, 180th Fighter Wing. And then, when the Towers fell, that was personal."
Senior Master Sgt. Schwebes said constructing this memorial with pieces from the three sites where Americans died at the hands of terrorists was essential.
The memorial contains Iron from the World Trade Towers in New York City, concrete pieces of the Pentagon in Washington DC. and dirt from the Field of Honor in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
"You know, at all three sites, they just reported to work," said Senior Master Sgt. Schwebes. "They just wanted to go to work and then at the end of the day to go home to their families. And that didn't happen."
There are five colored stars honoring the dead. White stars represent civilians, green stars represent the military, red stars represent firefighters, blue represents EMS and dark blue represents police. Each of the nearly 3,000 stars are unique.
"Sgt. Schwebes, a lot of people have mentioned him. His passion and trying to get this put together and the effort he went through to collect all of the pieces really motivated us to keep this going and keep it going every week," said Brian Lauderman, TRACE project manager. "I think there was a lot of patriotism and pride."
For Senior Master Sgt. Schwebes it was his mission and challenge to see this through. He said without Northwest Ohio's support, this place of peace and hope wouldn't have been possible.
The community had great involvement in this memorial and the community will be welcomed to see it soon.
The 180th is working on online registration that will be open in the coming weeks.