Mundelein memorial features beam from World Trade Center

 
 
Updated 8/31/2011 5:04 PM

A piece of steel beam from one of the fallen World Trade Center towers will be the centerpiece of a Mundelein memorial to the people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The display, planned for the lobby of the town's main fire station on Midlothian Road, will be unveiled during a ceremony on the anniversary date.

 

"The honor of receiving a symbol of one of the most horrific days in our nation's history can't be described," Mundelein Fire Chief Tim Sashko said in an email. "Today's children who can only read about this piece of history will be able to actually see a piece of it. It's like our generation seeing something from World War II, and you stop and wonder what it must have been like."

The beam, which is more than 4 feet long and is marked in chalk with a catalog number, will rest on a piece of marble donated to the village.

A painted backdrop will depict the firefighters who raised a U.S. flag at ground zero after the attacks.

Trustee Ray Semple said he got a chill up his spine when he recently saw the beam.

"It's going to be a beautiful monument," Semple said. "It's going to be a nice centerpiece for the village."

The unveiling ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. Sept. 11 at the station, 1000 N. Midlothian Road.

It will include honor guards from the fire and police departments, a performance of "Amazing Grace" by a bagpipe band, a military salute and comments from Mayor Kenneth H. Kessler, U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh and others.

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Following a request from the fire department, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to donate a piece of damaged steel from one of the former World Trade Center buildings destroyed in the attacks.

Village officials learned of the donation this past January and approved the plan.

At the time, the port authority had received more than 900,000 such requests, according to a village memo.

Des Plaines is among the other towns with artifacts from the World Trade Center attacks. Officials plan to unveil their own memorial, featuring a 114-pound segment of steel girder, on the anniversary at city hall.

Carpentersville and Huntley are planning memorials with World Trade Center steel, too, Sashko said.

The artifacts make people stop, think and "remember people we didn't even know who gave their life for us," Sashko said.