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Visiting 9/11 Memorials & Monuments in Ohio & Just Beyond 

Story and Photos by Matt Bayman

There are more than 700 official 9/11 memorials and monuments in the United States, including more than 20 in Ohio. They can be found in major cities and suburbs, as well as small towns and villages. They’re often located in beautiful parks and natural settings, or next to fire stations.
   Just by chance, some of the most striking memorials are located nearby to the Miami Valley and can be visited year-round, free of charge. Others require a longer drive, but are equally rewarding to see. This includes the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, which is a powerful tribute.
   With this year marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it seems like a fitting time to visit these memorials and monuments and to remember the 2,977 people who lost their lives that day. 
   Memorials come in all shapes and sizes and each has its own character and story to tell. 
   Many of the monuments in Ohio were created by using steel columns from the collapsed World Trade Center buildings in New York City. Some of the columns are in the shape of crosses or are erect, while others look like miniature versions of the towers themselves. Some are twisted and melted together. 
   Other cities have used artwork and sculptures to commemorate those who lost their lives on 9/11. This includes the small but impressive monument in Lebanon. It features two 9-foot-tall marble towers that sit on top of a pentagonal pedestal of stone. It is located outside of the Warren County government complex.
   Two of the standout memorials in Ohio can be found in Westerville and Hilliard, both of which are suburbs of Columbus and located within close driving distance of each other. 
   First Responders Park in Westerville is visually stunning. It contains statues, an eternal flame and a waterfall fountain that honors not only those who lost their lives on 9/11, but all of those who have fallen in the line of duty and service. 

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   The park features a twisted steel column from the World Trade Center and a marker that shows where it was located on the building.   

   The 9/11 memorial in Hilliard, which is also located at a place called First Responders Park, is probably the most elaborate and solemn memorial. Located in the heart of the community, it features rows of granite walls that contain the names of each person lost on 9/11, as well as a large, jumbled piece of the World Trade Center that sits on top of a marble pedestal.    

   Large gatherings and memorial services take place at both of these parks each Sept. 11, with special activities planned for the 20th anniversary at both locations.   

   Located nearby, just south of Columbus, is Mott’s Military Museum. Along with an extensive collection of United States military history, memorabilia and hardware, the museum contains a ladder truck that was recovered from the wreckage of the twin towers, as well as dirt and rocks from the United 93 crash site and chunks of limestone from the Pentagon building. There is a fee to enter the museum.   

   A very moving 9/11 monument (pictured above left) can be found in Alliance, Ohio, located south of Cleveland.    

   Alliance was the hometown of Chief Warrant Officer William Ruth, who died during the attack at the Pentagon, and Todd Beamer, who died in the crash of United 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which is really not that far from Alliance.     

   Beamer will forever be remembered for rallying passengers to take action against the terrorists, with his last words being, “Let’s roll!” He and other passengers then charged and overtook the terrorists. As a plaque on the memorial in Alliance reads: “This successful counterattack prevented the hijackers from reaching their intended target in Washington D.C.”    

   The Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania is a grand tribute to Beamer and the other heroes of Flight 93.    Located in the rural foothills of eastern Pennsylvania, but easily accessible from Interstate 70, the Flight 93 National Memorial is operated by the U.S. National Park Service. It features three main areas of interest—the Tower of Voices monument, Memorial Plaza and the Visitor Center and Learning Center. All three are free to visit.   The Tower of Voices is a 93- foot-tall musical instrument/monument that is unlike any other structure in the world. It holds 40 giant wind chimes that represent the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93. Each is tuned to a different key.    

   The architecture of the Visitor Center and Memorial Plaza are laid out to align with the exact path that Flight 93 took just before crashing into a nearby field. This stunning feature can be experienced from several vantage points in the park. An observation deck at the Visitor Center overlooks the crash site from above, while a series of hiking trails passes through the plaza and crash site area, creating a giant loop trek. All of the architecture and memorial walls point to a bolder that now marks the location of the crash site. The grass that grows above the now covered impact crater still looks different from the older grass that surrounds it, even 20 years later.     

   The Memorial Plaza contains a beautiful walkway and a memorial wall that has the names of each passenger engraved on it. A series of outdoor exhibits in the plaza explain the events of 9/11, as well as the investigation that followed and the event’s aftermath.   

   The Visitor Center contains even more detailed and moving exhibits and tributes.   

   In all, more than an hour can be spent at the Flight 93 National Memorial, if not longer.    

   Not too far from Pennsylvania is a cluster of memorials and monuments in the Cleveland area, and then another in Tiffin and Toledo. The memorials in Cleveland are mostly located next to fire stations, and are always not too far from Lake Erie.     

   Closer to home, there are 9/11 monuments in Beavercreek, Fairborn, Kettering and Urbana (pictured above right). All of them are unique and special in their own way, and each is worth the short drive to see.    

   Whether taking a long road trip, or a series of day trips, visiting Ohio’s 9/11 memorials (and those nearby) can be a great way to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the event. It’s also a way to teach our children and grandchildren about the historical events that happened that day, and to see and experience the wonderful things that people can do when honoring their heroes and loved ones.       

   Additionally, the Miami Valley Veterans Museum in Troy houses a scale model of the World Trade Center and a piece of wreckage from the World Trade Center. Both can be viewed during regular museum hours. And, as seen on page 18, Miami County Veterans Services is bringing the 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit to the downtown Troy on Sept. 10-12. This will be a local remembrance of the 20th anniversary. (Read more about the event in Troy HERE)   

   The following images and map above show just some of the 9/11 memorials that can be visited in Ohio. For a comprehensive list of all the memorials in Ohio and throughout the United States, visit 911rememberedthetravelingmemorial.org.  

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While small in comparison to many other memorials, the Painesville 9/11 Memorial, 28 Mentor Ave., is unique in that, along with a piece of steel from the Twin Towers, it features twin lights that shine upward like pillars at night. Local firefighters designed and built the monument.  

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The Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial is located in All Patriots Memorial Park, 201 Water St. right next to the Sandusky River. It features a beam from the World Trade Center and also memorializes Tiffin first-responders who have died in the line of duty.

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The Beavercreek 911 Memorial is a 6,000-pound structure located at 1153 N. Fairfield Rd. It contains a piece of the north tower of the World Trade Center that was once located on the 101st and 105th floors of the building. 

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Along with the marble towers and pentagon-shaped base, the Lebanon 911 Memorial at the Warren County Government Center also includes two benches, one to remember passengers and the flight crew killed on Flight 93 and another to remember the Warren County natives, Wendy Fauklner and Robert Peraza, who were both killed in the attacks.

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First Responder Park, 374 W. Main St. in Westerville, (pictured above and below) was dedicated in 2010 to honor the service and sacrifice of all first responders. The centerpiece of the park is a section of steel known as “C-40” from the north tower. The memorial cost $1.2 million to build.

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Located in front of the National Center for Medical Readiness at 506 E. Xenia Dr., the Fairborn 911 Memorial features an engraved monument and a piece of the World Trade Center.

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The 9/11 memorial in Urbana is located at Freedom Grove Park at the intersection of U.S. 68 and St. Rt. 55. Each September 11, the area around the memorial is surrounded with 450 “tribute” flags and the public is invited to attend a ceremony that honors those who lost their lives on 9/11. This includes Alicia Titus, an Urbana resident who was a United Airlines flight attendant. Her plane was hijacked and flown into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

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First Responder Park is located at 5323 Center St. in Hilliard and features granite walls inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives, as well as a reflecting pool, personalized pavers, a monument honoring fallen heroes and a metal sculpture made from the steel of the World Trade Center.

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The Alliance 9/11 Memorial, 2930 S. Union Ave., (seen here and on the cover page of the story) is the only one in the country made with aluminum debris. The two pieces of debris stand in the same orientation as the twin towers. The 1,120 pound, 20 foot memorial was created by students from the University of Mount Union and is meant as a “reminder of the images of jagged shards of aluminum rising up from the rubble at the World Trade Center”.

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The Lakewood 9/11 Memorial, 1460 Madison, features a pair of 5,000-pound beams from the World Trade Center.

The Kettering 911 Memorial in Lincoln Park is a sculpture created by artist John Van Alstine. It’s located in Seitz Plaza inside of the park. The sculpture is unique because it contains a sun dial that aligns with a stylus on the monument at precisely noon each September 11.

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While small in comparison to many other memorials, the Painesville 9/11 Memorial, 28 Mentor Ave., is unique in that, along with a piece of steel from the Twin Towers, it features twin lights that shine upward like pillars at night. Local firefighters designed and built the monument.  

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Other Notable Memorials and 9/11 Exhibits in Ohio 
o Motts Military Museum, 5075 S. Hamilton Rd., Groveport
o Boulevard of 500 Flags in Eastlake (near Cleveland) 
o Liberty Gardens 9/11 Memorial in Euclid
o Austintown Township 9/11 Memorial Park
o Ohio Wesleyan University Memorial Garden & 9/11 Memorial 
o Medina 9/11 Memorial 
o Gibsonburg 9/11 Memorial and Art
o Fulton County Fairgrounds 9/11 Memorial
o Flight 93 Memorial, located at the Cleveland FAA Air Traffic Control Tower 

Click HERE to read about the 9/11 Mobile Exhibit Coming to Troy in September

The Flight 93 National Memorial is located about five hours from most of the Miami Valley, not far from Interstate 70. As with any U.S. National Park, its quality is hard to match and it’s a place that everyone should see. 

(The boulder in the top right picture was put at the location where Flight 93 crashed. The entire grounds and monuments point to it!)

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