‘We will never forget’; County plans 9/11 memorial events


By Sam Wildow

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TROY —A collaboration between a number of local entities will be coming to fruition next week in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Miami County Veterans Services, the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, the city of Troy, and the Miami County Agricultural Society have teamed up to host a series of events geared toward educating the public and remembering the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were four coordinated attacks by the terrorist group al-Qaeda, which resulted in the deaths of 2,977 victims, as well as approximately 25,000 injuries. The attacks included four California-bound commercial airliners that were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists and then flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan in New York City; the west side of the Pentagon Arlington County, Virginia; and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Both 110-story towers of the World Trade Center collapsed within an hour and 42 minutes, leading to the collapse of the other World Trade Center structures.

Now, 20 years later, the county will continue to educate the public and remember those terrorist attacks through a mobile exhibit, a series of presentations, a military vehicle motor pool, and more events between Sept. 10-12 next week that will be held near the Miami County Courthouse in downtown Troy, the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, and the Miami County Fairgrounds.

“It’s an important thing to remember,” Karen Purke, executive director of the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, said. “We have a piece of the World Trade Center in our museum and a sculpture that was done that is an exact replica of the World Trade Centers and the Plaza.”

Purke said the museum sometimes gets asked why it has that display, and she explained how it prompted many of the country’s younger veterans to join the military.

“The reason we do is because that attack was the catalyst for many veterans enlisting in the Armed Forces,” Purke said. “History should be preserved, and I believe the reasons for those individuals choosing to serve their country – it should be honored. It should be honored that they decided to do that.”

A highlight for the county’s commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is Miami County Veterans Services bringing the Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s 9/11 NEVER FORGET Mobile Exhibit to the downtown Troy. It will be on display in front of the Miami County Courthouse between Sept. 10-12.

The mobile exhibit is a tribute to all those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, including the 343 members of the Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) who died responding to the attacks.

“It’s manned by firefighters — retired firefighters — from New York City,” said Selena Loyd, the executive director of Miami County Veterans Services.

The 83-foot tractor-trailer becomes a 1,100-square-foot exhibit, which provides interactive education to visitors. The exhibit includes artifacts such as steel beams from the towers, documentary videos, and recordings of first responder radio transmissions. Interactive guided tours are carried out by firefighters who provide firsthand accounts of the day and its aftermath.

The mobile exhibit is free, and it will be open to visitors between 1-9 p.m. on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11, as well as between 1-7 p.m. on Sept. 12.

On Friday, Sept. 10, there will also be a free concert, American Pride “A Tribute to the Statler Brothers,” in downtown Troy on West Main Street at 7:30 p.m.

Additionally on Saturday, Sept. 11, there will be a sound off at noon that will include various agencies from throughout the county to show county unity, Loyd said. Then, at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11, there will be a memorial service held at the exhibit featuring a New York City firefighter.

Another concert will be held in downtown Troy on Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.

At the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, there will be military vehicles on display, and the museum will be open with military re-enactors and other various organizations at booths at the museum.

“We are partnering with the Ohio Motor Pool, so we will have military vehicles on display at our museum,” Purke said.

On Friday, Sept. 10, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the museum will be holding its “Troops in Town, Then & Now” event. The museum is encouraging home school and other local students to participate in this a five-station program at the museum. Purke said the program will be an educational military history program where students and others can go from one station to the next to learn about historic themes related to military history.

Visitors may start at any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sept. 10, and registrations are required for groups of 10 or more. Call (937) 216-0949 or email [email protected] to make reservations. The museum is located at 2245 South County Road 25A, Troy.

Organizers are also encouraging those who want to attend any of these events, including the mobile exhibit, to park at the Miami County Fairgrounds, located at 650 North County Road 25A in Troy, where there will be additional activities, as well as free shuttles to downtown Troy and to the Miami Valley Veterans Museum. Downtown Troy will have limited parking, and the museum will also have limited parking due to the Ohio Motor Pool vehicles on display.

Food trucks will also be available in downtown Troy and at the fairgrounds. The museum will also have food available, along with a beer garden.

Purke said the museum hopes to make its events an annual commemoration.

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