A new 9/11 memorial now stands at the Five Cities Fire Authority headquarters in Arroyo Grande.
The elegant tribute was created by Zac Hall, a sophomore at New Tech High School in Nipomo.
“This project is all about the heroes that saved lives at World Trade Center Plaza,” said Hall.
Hall, a Boy Scout with Nipomo-based Troop 450, came up with the idea for his Eagle Scout project.
The long process included months of planning, preparation, fund raising and gaining approval from the City of Arroyo Grande.
On Sunday, with about 100 people on hand, Hall’s project was officially unveiled in the front of the fire station.
“It means a lot to have completed this project,” said Hall. “All the support that the City has given me and the firefighters have given me and the Troop and the community and all the support coming into this one great effort to create something so important and meaningful.”
Hall’s memorial features a concrete outline of the Pentagon, with two concrete representations of the Twin Towers in the middle.
“It’s often overlooked that the Pentagon was also hit by a hijacked plane, so I wanted to make it super clear that the Pentagon was also attacked, as well as the Twin Towers, so both of those ideas are part of the design,” Hall said.
Along the edge of the concrete are red, white and blue jewels.
“The blue tiles represent law enforcement that were lost that day,” said Steve Lieberman, Five Cities Fire Authority Fire Chief. “White is EMS and paramedics and the red tiles reflect the firefighters that were lost.”
Also included in the memorial is a large piece of steel from the World Trade Center site.
It’s attached to a brick display that features words of remembrance.
Lieberman said the Fire Authority came into possession of the steel piece many years ago.
However, without a proper display, it was simply kept inside the station out of public sight.
“It means everything to have it at a fire station,” said Lieberman. “To bring our steel into the project was amazing. To give a place for our community where they can come and reflect on the events of September 11th and to actually interact with a piece of steel from Ground Zero is fabulous. Several of our communities have events every year, but this will be a permanent display for Arroyo Grande and neighboring communities as well.”
Hall said the project is important because of the significance September 11 has to the nation.
Even though he was not born when the attacks took place, he believes it’s crucial history that should never be forgotten.
“Everyone who was alive at the time has their moment where they first learned about the attack on Twin Towers and it shows how deeply this event runs in the hearts and minds of Americans,” said Hall.
As word of the memorial spreads, community members are already stopping by the station to view it.
On Tuesday, Jody Cook of Grover Beach took time out of her day to see the display.
“It’s very moving and it’s very touching to see it,” Cook said. “I love it. It’s simple, yet it’s moving and it makes a statement about 9/11 was about for Americans and everybody all over the world.”
Cook said it’s particularly impressive that someone as young as Hall was responsible for its creation.
“It’s nice to see the younger generation have feelings about their history,” said Cook. “The history of their country.”
The memorial sits just outside the station’s main entrance along Station Way.
Lieberman said it will be incorporated into station tours the Fire Authority provides throughout the year.
“We do a lot of public education tours with kids through the station all year round and that will certainly be a stop along the station tour,” said Lieberman.
Cook adds a visit to the memorial is a must.
“I think everybody should come and see it,” said Cook. “Everybody who lives around here should come and see it. See what this remarkable young man did. It’s great. It’s wonderful.”
Hall was scheduled to speak before Arroyo Grande City Council members Tuesday night.
In addition to giving council members a recap of the project, Hall, along with other Troop 450 members, were scheduled to lead the flag salute before the start of the meeting.
With his project now complete, Hall added it will still be a couple more months before he earns the Eagle Scout rank.