World Trade Center steel monument dedicated at Connellsville Area High School
“These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the resolve of the American people.”
Speaking in front of the World Trade Center Monument at Connellsville Area High School, Jimmy Roach, a media personality for 43 years, recalled those words spoken by President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001.
Members and officials with the Connellsville Area High School Patriots joined school and municipal officials, veterans and invited guests on Saturday to dedicate the monument — a piece of steel from the North Tower of the World Trade Center — in the auditorium foyer at the recently renovated high school.
The program began with a prayer offered by Ray Keefer, pastor of Central Fellowship Church.
Roach acknowledged the veterans in the audience and compared the sacrifices faced by Americans in the different wars.
“Afghanistan, this war is easy to ignore,” Roach said. “World War II, there was rationing. Everyone knew somebody who was in the military. It was a personal war. There were sacrifices from everybody on the block.”
Roach said 1 percent of the population has volunteered to be in the military.
“One percent is protecting the rest of us,” he said. “If we don't want to know what is going on, we don't have to. We don't have to sacrifice a darn thing.
“They are protecting us at this moment. That is why we need to appreciate them on a daily basis. Veterans Day should not be Veterans Day; it should be Veterans Year.”
Connellsville is not a rich area, Roach said. Many of the students at the high school are near the poverty level. He said that is why it is so amazing that so much money is raised to support the troops.
“What's done here is historic,” he said.
The monument in the building is proof of that resolve, Roach said.
Tara Osler then sang, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”
Maribeth Bradley, a member of the New York Police Department, remembered being in class in the CAHS building when she first heard of the attacks. Bradley was one of the 10 original members of the Patriots who worked to provide packages to Connellsville area soldiers in the first mailing.
“It was amazing what a bunch of kids could do,” she said.
After she graduated from college, Bradley found going to New York and joining the NYPD were what she wanted to do.
“I wanted to become part of the new New York,” she said.
According to Bradley, 23 members of the NYPD gave their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, in attempting to save the lives of others.
“By building this memorial, you are helping to carry on their memories and the memories of all who were lost on 9/11,” she said.
When the steel section arrived in Connellsville, it was covered with concrete and rebar that was removed. Those pieces were placed in display cases that will be located in various schools and public buildings in Connellsville and the surrounding area.
Those attending the dedication ceremony were given a small piece of concrete to take with them.
Linda Shearer, who sponsored the CAHS Patriots, then thanked a long list of people who were able to help procure and transport the steel from New York to Connellsville.
Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3538.