At a solemn ceremony today, the North Campus of Miami Dade College dedicated a new memorial to honor those lost in the attacks on 9/11.
The memorial is about 10 feet high. On top of the base, which is supposed to represent the Pentagon, there is a granite column with three sides. Each side has the name of a place that was attacked on Sept. 11 along with a quote of remembrance. On top of the column is a two foot piece of what looks like an I-beam with a large nail sticking out of it.
It's one of two pieces gathered from the World Trade Center that the college received from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Mike McCann, chair of the college's 9/11 Committee, drafted a letter in 2010 requesting the pieces. Since then, the 9/11 Committee was tasked with designing and constructing the memorial and today it was unveiled at its permanent home.
McCann is also manager of the Fire Sciences Program at the college. He says it is important for South Floridians to be connected to history. As an institution that trains firefighters and police officers, the college feels especially close to the events on 9/11, he said.
The School of Justice and the Fire Science Program have graduated more than 85 percent of all firefighters and public safety personnel in Miami-Dade County and its surrounding municipalities according to Malour Harrison, interim president of Miami-Dade College's North and South Campuses.
More than 400 emergency workers including firefighters and police officers were killed during the terrorist attacks. The Miami-Dade Urban Rescue Team was one team of rescue workers who were deployed to Ground Zero after the attacks.
The dedication service was delayed by a downpour, but that didn't discourage over 250 people from attending. Uniformed students from the Fire Sciences Program, cadets in the School of Justice and members of the ROTC surrounded the crowd, reinforcing the college's connection to those in service who responded to the call for help 12 years ago.
"Despite the horrific events of 9/11," Harrison said in her opening statement, "we came together as citizens as a nation, as a world, much like we're coming together today on the North Campus to reflect and provide support for one another and most importantly, to honor their lives that were innocently lost."
The service was opened by a musical offering by the college choir who sang the national anthem and closed by two bagpipers.
Though its was solemn service with many damp eyes, the college is happy to have created this space to remember.