Paul Hewitt, the chief of the Park City Fire District, will mark Sept. 11 on two occasions this month, the 12-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Hewitt, a Salt Lake City Fire Department captain on Sept. 11, 2001, recalls being on duty that day and the sacrifices that were made. On Saturday, 2 1/2 weeks after the anniversary, Hewitt, other emergency officials and the wider community are expected to gather to witness the Park City leg of a statewide journey of a 4.5-ton artifact removed from the World Trade Center site.
The artifact, a concrete-aggregate wall that was embedded seven stories below ground, will be made the centerpiece of a memorial park that is under construction outside the Fort Douglas Military Museum at the University of Utah. It will honor the state's fallen warriors. Fort Douglas is one of two locations picked for what are described as "major" artifacts from the World Trade Center site, the Utah National Guard said. The concrete wall protected the World Trade Center from flooding by the Hudson River.
Hewitt is one of the figures scheduled to provide remarks during a ceremony when the artifact arrives in Park City. He said he will talk about the sacrifices of firefighters on Sept. 11 as well as address younger people who were not yet born.
"It is never less impactful to me. It never goes away," Hewitt said, calling Sept. 11 somber.
An organization known as the Utah Fallen Warriors has scheduled the statewide tour of the artifact. The chairperson of the organization, Raette Belcher, lives in Silver Summit and owns Southwest Indian Traders on Main Street. The organization brings awareness to members of the military killed during the war on terrorism.
Belcher said the artifact, measuring approximately five feet tall, five feet wide and four feet thick, will be escorted into Park City from Quinn's Junction at 11 a.m. It will be put on display on a flatbed truck on lower Main Street. A crane will lift an 800-square foot American flag over the ceremony. Belcher said the ceremony is expected to last between 30 and 40 minutes. It will feature a color guard and the singing of the national anthem. Local political leaders will speak alongside Hewitt and Belcher. The artifact will be kept on display on lower Main Street until approximately 4 p.m.
Park City is the only place in Summit County where the artifact will be on display. The statewide tour continues until Oct. 8. Stops shortly after Park City include Camp Williams and West Valley City.
In a prepared statement announcing the statewide tour, Belcher said she wanted to be involved after meeting women who had lost a child in the service, called an American Gold Star Mother.
"These were mothers whose sons or daughters had given their all in the fight against terrorism. My heart was touched," she said in the statement.
Belcher said in an interview Parkites have offered widespread support for the Fort Douglas project. The community is "overwhelming with good people," she said, noting that Park City businesses and individuals donated time, materials and money to the memorial park.
"This is kind of like a healing stone," she said, adding, "It's a perfect healing stone."