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9/11 memorial set for 2014 dedication in Federal Way

South King Fire and Rescue
South King Fire and Rescue's Lt. Chris Burdyshaw holds a rock that Lt. Scott Mahlen (right) brought back from the crash site in Shanksville, Pa. The cracks on the rock resulted from the impact of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed into a field on Sept. 11, 2001.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror

A steel beam from the World Trade Center, along with a rock from the crash site in Shanksville, Pa., will form the centerpiece of a 9/11 memorial in Federal Way.

The future memorial will be built at South King Fire and Rescue Station 64, located on South 320th Street, just east of I-5.

Originally scheduled to open this year, construction on the project was delayed due to funding and changes in design, said Lt. Chris Burdyshaw. A committee is finalizing plans for the memorial and seeks a building permit. Burdyshaw anticipates a dedication for the site next year on Sept. 11, 2014.

The memorial will also include a stalwart pear tree in tribute to the only tree that survived at Ground Zero in New York City.

Nearly 3,000 people — including 343 firefighters — died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. On that date, members of the Islamic group al-Qaida hijacked four passenger jets and crashed them into both World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.

Two years ago, South King Fire's Lt. Scott Mahlen and firefighter Sven Schievink drove to New York to retrieve the steel beam, which was stored in a warehouse at JFK International Airport.

Inside the warehouse was evidence from the suicide attacks on the twin towers. There were rows of fire trucks and smashed police cars, along with a piece of jet engine from an airplane that crashed into one of the skyscrapers.

Mahlen and Scheivink loaded the steel beam onto a trailer with running boards that listed all the victims in the attacks. When they parked at Ground Zero, random people came up to the trailer to point out family members and share stories.

"Ten years later, the feelings were still just as raw back there as if it had just happened," Mahlen said of the 2011 journey.

As the firefighters drove the steel beam back to Federal Way, the trailer caught the attention of passing motorists on the interstate, Mahlen said. Even at 60 mph, other vehicles would crowd around the trailer to get a glimpse of the steel beam.

During the 2011 trip, the firefighters also picked up a rock from Shanksville, Pa., with help from the National Park Service. The cracks on the rock resulted from the impact of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed into a field, killing all 44 people on board including the four hijackers.

One of the passengers aboard that flight was Todd Beamer, who helped lead a revolt against the hijackers with the battle cry, "Let's roll." Beamer is the namesake for Todd Beamer High School, which opened in Federal Way in 2003.

(Pictured: A moment of reflection and remembrance, co-hosted by King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer, was held Wednesday at Station 64 to mark the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.)

Learn more

• The 9/11 memorial in Federal Way is expected to cost about $25,000. Local businesses and residents who wish to donate toward the memorial may call (253) 946-7240 or email gordon.olson@southkingfire.org. Any extra proceeds will go toward 9/11 victim funds.

 

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