9/11 is remembered in Edmonds at new memorial park

EDMONDS — The sculpture is subtle, simple and steel.

The sun on Friday morning shone through the panels of stained glass in the sculpture, washing the image of the American flag over a one-ton beam. It was just as the firefighters envisioned.

The beam, an artifact from the 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, is the centerpiece of a new 9/11 memorial park in downtown Edmonds. The park officially opened in time for Friday’s ceremony marking 14 years since the World Trade Center towers fell.

“We are here today to display the final resting place of the one-ton beam,” said Dave “Bronco” Erickson, a longtime firefighter who helped organize the memorial effort. The park was designed to be a place of solace, a timeless reminder of sacrifice and loss, he said.

The attack in New York killed 2,753 people, an attack on the Pentagon killed 184 and 40 people died on Flight 93, which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back against hijackers.

Firefighters have gathered at the same site in Edmonds, near Fire Station 17, every year since “to honor and remember all of those who perished,” Erickson said.

“This artifact serves as a tombstone for each and every one,” he said.

Erickson’s son, Forrest, 10, wrapped his arm around a friend as they looked at the sculpture.

The park isn’t finished. The concrete was barely dry in time. A rubble base will be added, Erickson said.

Fourteen years has been a long time, but also not so long, Mayor Dave Earling said.

“The American spirit is always to figure it out, come back and make a difference,” he said. “We do have a difference here today.”

Coralie Shepherd walked down to the park from her Edmonds home, wearing her red-white-and-blue ball cap.

“This ceremony is very moving and very appropriate and very necessary,” she said.

Roberta Krause’s husband, Bruce, was a local firefighter for 33 years. She brought their three grandchildren to Friday’s event, including 4-year-old Hailey, clutching a tiara.

She remembers her husband being on duty that day in 2001. He called her and said, “Turn the TV on.” Tears still come at the memory of that moment, she said.

“You have to be reminded,” she said.

Norm Collins lost his brother, Daniel, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, earlier in 2001. Going through Daniel’s effects after the death, Norm Collins found very little money: just a $1 bill in his wallet. He saved the bill, not sure what to do with it.

Norm and seven siblings grew up in Edmonds. He wrote “Danny Collins’ last dollar” on the bill and gave it to Edmonds firefighters.

They considered it a symbolic donation toward the memorial, Erickson said.

“They still have it,” Collins said. “They promised me they wouldn’t cash it.”

The firefighters had called Collins, now 70 and living in Everett, to make sure he knew he was invited to the ceremony Friday. They remembered his gift.

Edmonds was the town his brother called home.

“It’s just a small pittance, but this is significant to us,” Collins said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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