HAVERHILL — On the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, local people can experience what the first responders saw when they arrived at the World Trade Center.

The public can also witness the unveiling of a sculpture that will memorialize the tragedy.

The Haverhill Firefighting Museum at 75 Kenoza Ave. will have a memorial service and sculpture dedication on Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The program will be led by retired Special Agent William White Jr. of the FBI, who will be the master of ceremonies. Guest speaker will be Joanne Crowley, retired deputy director of the New York/New Jersey Port Authority.

The memorial service will include participation by the Haverhill Police Department Honor Guard, Trinity EMS personnel and the Haverhill Fire Department Honor Guard. 

The Groveland Fire Department will signal the “last alarm” at the times when the World Trade Center towers fell. Bagpipes will accompany the presentation and the hanging of a Port Authority flag presented by Crowley. 

Cynthia Graham, secretary for the museum’s board of directors, said two of the museum’s volunteers recently attended a lecture White was giving at the Citizens Center in Haverhill.

“They obtained his Haverhill phone number and I called him up,” Graham said of how she arranged for him to be the master of ceremonies for Sunday’s event. 

She said retired Haverhill High Associate Principal Debra MacDonald went to college with Crowley.

“She reached out to her and Crowley agreed to be part of the event,” Graham said.

After the unveiling of a permanent, perpetually illuminated, inscribed memorial sculpture designed by retired Haverhill High School art teacher Maria Fontaine, there will be a ceremonial reading of the names of the first responders who died on 9/11.

“We had put out a call to artists for ideas, and of the seven designs we received, we chose Maria’s,” Graham said. “We were looking for a perpetually illuminated public sculpture with the names of the 411 first responders who perished and to have it installed in front of the museum, so it needed to be able to resist the weather.”

Graham said the team that designed the nearly 10-foot-tall sculpture also included Dave Collins of Haverhill, who was in charge of stone and masonry; Timothy Graham of Haverhill, who handled metal fabrication; and Jeff Raymond of Atkinson, who was in charge of lighting.

“They generously donated their services to this project,” Graham said.

Inside the museum, an exhibit titled “Through the Eyes of a First Responder” will chronicle the day’s events from the perspective of the 9/11 rescue workers who died. The exhibit will become a permanent part of the museum.

An art exhibit and a documentary film titled “9/11 Remembering” by Chris Bowden of HC Media will premiere on Sunday, as well. The 17-minute-long film will be shown every half-hour in the museum’s meeting room.

Silver sponsors of the event are Haverhill Bank, Trinity EMS and the Sign Center of Haverhill. Bronze sponsors are the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home, HC Media, Neptune Uniforms & Equipment, Haverhill Rotary Club, Spaulding Brick of Wilmington, Pentucket Bank, Demers Plate Glass of Haverhill and the Haverhill Fire Department Credit Union.

The Haverhill Firefighting Museum will also install a 9/11 Memorial Walkway that will encircle the sculpture.

Graham said 61 engraved bricks have been sponsored so far, and that 139 are still available for a donation of $250 or more.

People can download an order form or make a tax-deductible donation at www.haverhillfirefightingmuseum.org. Donations can also be mailed to: 9/11 Project, Haverhill Firefighting Museum, 75 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill, MA 01830. 

More information is available from Cynthia Graham at 978-994-1854 or cynthiagraham409@gmail.com or from Patricia Graham at 978-835-1565 or toolittlefarm1@yahoo.com

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