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  • Staff photo by Bruce Preston

    Nashua Fire Chief Brian W. Morrissey, left and Police Chief Donald Conley unveil the new September 11th Memorial that sits outside of the Nashua Fire Rescue Headquarters during a ceremony held on Sunday evening.

  • Staff photo by Bruce Preston

    Nashua Fire Department Chaplin Fr. Richard Kelly blesses the new September 11th Memorial that sits outside of the Nashua Fire Rescue Headquarters during a ceremony held on Sunday evening.

  • Staff photo by Bruce Preston

    Members of the Nashua Fire Department and Nashua Police Department Honor Guards participate in the dedication of a new September 11th Memorial that sits outside of the Nashua Fire Rescue Headquarters on Sunday evening.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nashua firefighters remember 911

NASHUA – At 48 inches tall, a steel beam pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center stood prominently in front of the East Hollis Fire Station on Sunday evening. It was the centerpiece of a memorial constructed on the front lawn of the station, unveiled on the 10-year anniversary of the attacks.

Lt. Mark Wholey of Nashua Fire Rescue said the memorial will be illuminated at night, so those passing by will be reminded at all times of the attack that claimed the lives of so many.

“It will be there for eternity, I promise you,” Wholey said.

The memorial dedication was part of a ceremony held at the station Sunday evening to observe the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in the nation’s history. Roughly 200 people came out for the ceremony, including 67-year-old Charlie Bureau.

On his way into the ceremony, Bureau, carrying an American flag, made sure to shake the hands of several police officers and thank them for what they do. Bureau, a Nashua resident who came to the ceremony with his wife Marion, said it’s difficult to believe it’s been 10 years since the attacks. But this is no time for the nation to let its guard down, he added.

“The threat is still imminent,” he said, wearing a T-shirt with an American flag and the words “God Bless America” on it.

Asked what he was thinking about on the 10-year anniversary, Bureau said he thought about the nation seeming to come together again, the way it did in the aftermath of the attacks.

Wholey said the memorial has been in the works for several months, and happened because of the help of several local organizations and businesses. The beam was one of 1,500 artifacts from the World Trade Center site that had been distributed to fire and police departments across the country for memorials. The department had to apply for it and explain what it would be used for. The firefighters union covered the cost transporting the 640-pound beam from New York City to Nashua, Wholey said.

The memorial includes a granite base for the beam, along with a pentagonal pad, representing the lives lost when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building. Flowers surround the memorial, which Wholey said it meant to symbolize the peaceful field where United Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa.

Once the memorial was unveiled, members of Nashua Fire Rescue and the Nashua Police Department honor guard brought the American flag to full staff. It had been at half staff to honor the anniversary.

“This is a symbol that America will rise again always does,” he said.

The Rev. Richard Kelley, chaplain for the Nashua Police Department, blessed the memorial, throwing holy water on it. He also offered a prayer to open and close the ceremony.

“Lord, we ask that you grant eternal rest and peace for all those who died that day,” he said.

Before the dedication, David Brody, of Nashua, placed three small American flags around the memorial. They were to symbolize the three people he knew who were passengers on American Airlines Flight 11: Richard Ross, Peter Gay and Ken Waldie.

“Sadness,” when asked what emotions he was feeling Sunday. His eyes watered as he remembered the feeling of that day, hearing their names read as victims of the attack. He has spent the past 10 years trying to honor their memories. He and his wife Reina wore matching sweatshirts to the ceremony, each with images of Ground Zero and pledging never to forget.

Allison Kraus, Ethan Kraus and Katelyn Frechette, all 14 and of Nashua, performed “America, the Beautiful.”

The Nashua Lions Club also dedicated a tree during the ceremony. A plaque will be placed with the tree, stating: “Remembering the Heroes 9-11-01 – 9-11-11.” The club plans to plant trees at all five fire stations and the police department over the next year to as a tribute to the men and women who contribute to the city.

Michael Brindley can be reached at 594-6426 or