ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - A 37-foot, 4 ton twisted metal beam from one of the World Trade Center towers will soon be at the center of a September 11th Memorial in Belleville, IL.
The Belleville Fire Department is still raising funds to build the memorial walkway at the fire house. The beam will be on display Saturday at the Great Fire Engine Rally and Memorial Walk in downtown St. Louis. The goal is to raise awareness and funds for the project.
For former Belleville Police Sgt. John Brough, who was shot int the face in the line of duty, this connection with other first responders means a lot.
"I kind of had a closer attachment to what happened at 9-11 because it’s like I experienced tragedy myself, and my tragedy is nothing compared to what happened that day."
People were marking the anniversary a few days early all over the St. Louis area. At the St. Louis Fire Department Headquarters volunteers organized by "The Mission Continue" showed up to paint and clean up at the training center.
"We ‘re working with thousands of veterans around the country who decided after September 11th that they were going to join the military of the United States, and today we’re standing with first responders who spend every day in service," Eric Greitens, the Mission Continues' founder said.
Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson marveled at what was being done.
"This is bigand you can see that. People in the neighborhood and the city showed up too. We’ve got guys from New York. This is a big project."
Among those New York City firefighters, Tim Pickford. The FDNY lost 343 men on 9/11, and Pickford's house was hit particularly hard.
"We lost nineteen firefighters who left behind 46 children that day. It was the initial responsibility of trying to revoer our brothers to be laid to rest, then in the long term of supporting the families, being there for whatever they need. That continues to this day," he said.
Belleville's fire department will hold a 5k Sunday morning to help raise money for their memorial.