Museum continues 9/11 traditions


legal news photos by cynthia price

by Cynthia Price
Legal News

From the dozens of first responders and motorcycle club escorts who accompanied the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation “9/11 Never Forget” mobile exhibit from Holland to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, to the hundreds of students and citizens who viewed the memorial, to the Boy Scouts who led the day-long salute to the flag, the Ford Museum offered an opportunity last week for the community to remember that history.

As some of those who travel with the exhibit pointed out, there are people who were not yet born or are still too young to have clear memories of the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The purpose of the Tunnel to Tower is to honor the memory of firefighter Stephen Siller, who lost his life in the struggle, and by extension all the firefighters, rescue personnel and law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the aftermath of 9/11.

A secondary purpose of the traveling exhibit, as well as of the Ford Museum’s annual event, is to keep the memory of that day alive and disseminate information about it.

An escort composed of members of the Grand Rapids Fire and Police Departments, the Patriot Guard Riders, members of the Rolling Thunder motorcycle and Axemen motorcycle clubs, and the Boy Scouts of America met up near the Holland/Zeeland area of I-196 and formed an honorary cavalcade to accompany it to the Ford Museum. Traffic backed way up at the Pearl Street Exit of US-131 as police cars blocked off the area in front of the museum.

A small welcoming crowd, as well as escort members, heard from dignitaries at a brief ceremony at the edge of the Museum parking lot.

Prior to the free exhibit opening to the public the following day, scheduled school classes toured the informative displays as well as a fire prevention exhibit.

Until 7:00 p.m. Sunday night, Sept. 11, people stood in line to learn more and honor the dead as well as all law enforcement and fire/rescue personnel who risk their lives to keep the public safe.

The President Ford Council of the Boy Scouts of America gathered to do a continuous salute in front of the Museum’s flag at half-mast, along with members of the public, from sunrise to sunset on that day. A salute bell chimed at 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m., and 9:37 a.m., and 10:03 a.m. marking the times planes hit the two World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, and the crash of United Flight 93. The Salvation Army Brass Band played later in the evening.

The salute tradition started in 2002.

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