BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — If you’ve driven through Brockport, it’s almost impossible to miss one of the most impressive 9/11 shrines in our whole region. Inspired by the iconic image of three New York City firefighters at ground zero after the terror attacks, it stands as a constant reminder of September 11, 2001.
Hundreds of hours were volunteered to erecting this monument. Work began in October of 2001, “and we dedicated it in a very public ceremony with over 3,000 here on August 18, 2002,” says Christopher Martin, Public Information Officer with the Brockport Fire District.
Martin says the bent steel beam there is from the trade center towers, and there’s a piece of floor tile from inside the buildings placed behind the firefighters.
The original figures on display were carved out of wood with a chainsaw by artist Richard Kron. The weather of our region made them deteriorate a bit, and they were put inside the museum behind the monument. They were replaced with sculpted bronze statues that mirror the original wooden works.
“The expenses were all kept to a minimum. The pole was donated, it’s an old light pole. The fence that you see here was all custom made by local firefighters who were welders in a previous life,” says Martin, adding, “this was built on the backs of the volunteer firefighters and the EMTs and help from other agencies…”
The bricks lining the circular walkway were part of a campaign to raise revenue. People were allowed to have the names of loved ones engraved for $100. Martin says it certainly helped to balance out the costs.
The display has become a sight to stop at over the years for those passing through. The Capen Hose Co. 4 Fire Museum, also a draw (the museum houses antique trucks and fire gear going back 120-plus years).
Both have been put in multiple publications across the state.
“That’s huge. People are seeing that in the book and saying ‘wait, that’s only an hour from here or a half-hour from here.”
For Martin, he says a big concern for him as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, is that people will increasingly forget or diminish the event. He’s not going to let that happen in Brockport.
“Not as long as I’m around,” Martin said.
Saturday, the Brockport Fire District will be hosting their annual September 11th vigil, right at the monument on Main Street South starting at 8:30 AM.