Dubuque boy scout raises $45K for 9/11 memorial - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque boy scout raises $45K for 9/11 memorial

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The new memorial includes a piece of steel from the Twin Towers The new memorial includes a piece of steel from the Twin Towers
DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

It started as an idea for an Eagle Scout project and blossomed into a memorial for emergency responders.

It's a 9/11 memorial that pays tribute to those who died ten years ago, and Sunday morning, a ceremony revealed the new space.

It's located at the Dubuque County Emergency Responder Training Facility and includes a wall that lists the names of all service personnel who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Hundreds of people attended Sunday morning's memorial and dedication service, but it was a smaller crowd around noon that stood united in silence.

A ceremonial bell-ringing was followed by a moment of silence, as people stood around the memorial 16-year-old Luke Arensdorf helped create.

The memorial is his Eagle Scout project -- and a costly one, at that.

"$45,000," Arensdorf said. "I raised it all."

He said e-mails and phone calls soliciting funds helped him accomplish that goal.

The display even includes a piece of steel from the Twin Towers.

"From New York. From the World Trade Center, here in Dubuque," Arensdorf said. "I watched it on TV when they fell, and I got a piece of that steel. So, it's really, really humbling."

The memorial includes stone benches, with the logos of local emergency response organizations. Arensdorf said each of the organizations donated $1,000 to the memorial.

Retired Maj. Gen. Bob Felderman of the Iowa Army National Guard spoke at Sunday morning's dedication ceremony.

"The memorial here gives us a link from the cornfields of Dubuque, across the Mississippi River, to the people of this nation," he said.

Memorial visitor Tammy Sharkey brought her two boys to see the new memorial.

"Could you imagine having your dad and brother die at the same time?" she asked them, as the three family members stood in front of the list of names. They were especially drawn to the fathers and sons who had died together on that day, in the line of duty.

"There's several father-son family members," she said, gingerly feeling the etched names with her fingertips.

With a husband and brother-in-law in the Iowa Army National Guard, Sharkey feels for the families that lost loved ones in 9/11.

"It only breaks my heart that, you know, they had to have some tragedy like this happen to them," she said. "The love and support of the community is what keeps these people going."

Sharkey said the memorial allows people in the tri-states area to establish a 9/11 tradition.

"Every year you have something to come to, to remember it by," she said.

The memorial also includes ties to the military. Felderman said he was able to obtain for the memorial a flag that flew over the Pentagon earlier this year in honor of tri-states veterans.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey provided the steel from Ground Zero. Part of the deal, Arensdorf said, is the piece must be on display outside and free and open for all to see.

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