Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, left, takes a quick photo of the beam from the North Tower that will be used in the 9/11 Memorial, which will be constructed behind Medina Fire Station I on West Reagan Parkway. BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE
MEDINA — It was a day of patriotism.
About 150 elected officials, state politicians, first responders and residents crammed into Medina Fire Station 1, 300 W. Reagan Parkway, Friday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the 9/11 Memorial.
A 9-foot, 2-ton steel beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Center will be the main focus of the memorial that will be built behind the fire station.
Kelly Low, of the Medina Rotary Club, said about $80,000 needed to be raised for the memorial. She said after the ceremony that about $65,000 cash has been generated from donations all over the world.
She said that number would definitely grow after Friday’s ceremony, as commemorative coins and paver bricks were on sale.
Those wishing to make donations can visit medinarotary.org.
Low, past president of the Rotary Club, said it was an arduous process bringing the project to fruition.
Talk about the project started in 2002 — a year after commercial airliners hijacked by terrorists were crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“I had an easier time getting my Ph.D.,” she said.
She is a college professor at Ohio State University’s Wooster campus.
Low said the steel beam will be in Medina’s Memorial Day parade before “finding its resting place” behind the fire station.
United Flight 93, which flew over Medina County on Sept. 11, 2001, was part of the celebration. The flight path, which ended up in the Pennsylvania field, is depicted on the 9/11 coin.
“Our beam will be a visible reminder of what happened that day,” Low said. “People will be coming to Medina to see it.”
A dedication ceremony is scheduled for July 28.
“This is important to our community, important to our children,” Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.
Students graduating in 2018 were just born when the deadliest terrorist act on American soil occurred. Hanwell said it’s important for them to know what happened.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman got a bit emotional talking about first responders that lost their lives in New York City trying to save people they didn’t even know.
“We need this memorial,” he said. “Our identity was reshaped by the events of that day”
Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, and state Rep. Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick, were on hand.
“We cannot let that memory die,” Obhof said.
Hambley said the memorial is not about fear.
“It’s about acts of great American courage,” he said.
Others who spoke were Rotary President Bob Baisch, Medina County Commissioner Bill Hutson and Medina City Councilman Dennie Simpson, a former first responder.
Low said the event was “perfect” and came off without a hitch.
“It was everything I thought it could be,” he said. “I was blown away.”
Other officials such as U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland; U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth; and Secretary of State Jon Husted sent representatives to the ceremony.
Portman joked that he hoped the fire department didn’t have to go out on a call “because we’d lose our backdrop.”
Minutes later, the fire department did have to go out on a call for a dumpster fire, Medina Fire Chief Bob Painter said. He was grateful it wasn’t a bigger fire, since one of the large trucks would have had to be used.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.