SALEM, N.H. — Two years ago a traveling memorial to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, visited town. Shortly after, the Salem Won’t Forget Committee started planning for a permanent memorial here.
After acquiring a piece of steel from the Twin Towers, more than a year-and-a-half of planning and raising more than $100,000, the committee has achieved its goal and the memorial will be dedicated on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack that killed nearly 3,000 people.
The event will take place from 6 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Park. Gov. Chris Sununu and New York firefighters will attend.
The Salem memorial recognizes the three planes that were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the one on which passengers fought back against the terrorists. That plane would crash into the ground in a field in Pennsylvania.
In Salem, atop the memorial formed from a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, the word “Remember” is inscribed.
“One word, short and simple — 'Remember,'” said Pat Hargreaves, chair of the Salem Won’t Forget Committee.
The word "remember" alludes to lives lost, efforts of first-responders and the unity the country experienced, Hargreaves explained.
The word is placed between replicas of the Twin Towers that sit in a stone of the Pentagon that is scaled to the headquarters of the Department of Defense.
Also inside the Pentagon is a black granite stone carved into the shape of Pennsylvania with the words “Let’s Go” etched in the middle.
The stone, made of Pennsylvania black granite, states some of the last words said aboard Flight 93 before it crashed.
Etched onto the Pentagon is a timeline of the day, from when Flight 11 hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. to 10:28 a.m. when the tower collapsed, as well as the moments and events in between.
Crushed granite inside the Pentagon represents the aftermath of the crumbled buildings, Hargreaves said.
It was one of those things you can’t describe,” Hargreaves said, recalling how hard it was to find an American flag at a store in the days after the attack.
“We’re all Americans and hopefully we all come together,” Hargreaves said.
He said he hopes future generations will look to the memorial and remember the unity
The way people remember Sept. 11, 2001 and exactly what they were doing as they watched the planes crash is likened to the searing memories of other events like the assassination of John F. Kennedy or the space shuttle Challenger explosion.
“This is my generation’s memory. We all know what happened that day. We lived it,” Hargreaves said.
It was before 9 a.m. when a shriek from a nearby apartment alerted him to what was unfolding, Hargreaves recalled. The Army veteran and retired locksmith was working to open a door when instead he went to watch the news with the woman after making sure she was OK.
Through the process of building the monument Hargreaves heard stories of where people were when they were alerted to the hijackings.
“Because we had a lot of residents and family members who were affected both directly and indirectly by Sept. 11,” he said.