ASHLAND, Maine — Those wishing to pay homage to the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, won’t have to travel to New York, Washington, D.C., or Pennsylvania if all goes as planned for a memorial being spearheaded by the Ashland Fire Department.
The department now possesses a piece of steel and concrete weighing about 3,600 pounds from one of the twin towers that fell in the terrorist attack.
“We picked the piece up last October from the Freeport Fire Department. We found it through the Masons in Freeport who’d obtained a portion of steel from one of the buildings,” said Ashland Fire Chief Don Bouley.
Bouley said Freeport officials used a portion of the steel to create their own memorial and gave what was left to the Ashland Fire Department.
“They cut two pieces and stood them up to look like the twin towers. This is the remaining piece,” he said.
The department is looking to create its own memorial, adding benches with it “to give people a place to come and remember and pay their respects.”
Bouley said he first learned about the Freeport project when he attended the state firefighters’ convention in Ellsworth around Sept. 11 last year. When he found out there was a piece left over, he talked to Ashland Town Manager Ralph Dwyer about it.
“He thought it was a great idea to acquire it for the town to create our own memorial,” said Bouley.
The chief said officials plan to place the memorial on municipal property so everyone can have access to it.
“We’d like to place it in the corner of the municipal property here at the firehouse/town office. We want to set it up at an angle so you can see the whole face of it. This will honor the many EMS, firefighters and civic people who lost their lives or who responded to this tragedy,” Bouley said.
In the meantime, fundraisers will be held to come up with the estimated $5,000 to $8,000 it will cost to complete the project.
“May 17 at the Ashland VFW will be our first fundraising event. We want to tie in with the Ashland Days Committee,” said Bouley.
Bouley is hoping other fire departments will get on board to help raise funds for the memorial.
“I contacted Darren Woods (Aroostook EMA director) and he’s contacting all county fire departments asking them to donate,” said Bouley.
He said it’s uncertain which tower the piece came from but he’s working with the Masons to find out.
An account has been set up at Katahdin Trust and donations also can be mailed to: Ashland Fire Department, P.O. Box 910, Ashland, ME 04732. Checks should be made out to “9/11 Memorial” in care of Don Bouley. Or donations can be made at any Katahdin Trust branch.