On September 11, 2001, two planes struck the World Trade Center in New York City causing an explosive fire, which led to the collapse of the twin towers. After the debris was cleared, one vital structure survived – the slurry wall. The slurry wall was an underground three-foot thick, reinforced concrete wall that kept water from the Hudson River from flooding the lower levels of the towers.
As part of the Utah’s Fallen Warriors Memorial, a portion of the slurry wall is now the centerpiece at the Fort Douglas Memorial Park, located at the Fort Douglas Military Museum on the University of Utah’s campus.
Yet, the portion of the wall did not end up in Utah by accident. Rather, it had a champion who raised funds and recruited manpower to make it a reality. That advocate was Utah Fallen Warrior Memorial Committee Chairwoman, Raette Belcher. Belcher was inspired to bring a portion of the wall to Utah after meeting with women who had lost their husbands and sons in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. After hearing their heartfelt stories, she was determined to make sure Utah citizens never forget about those who perished on 9/11 as well as to those who fought for freedom in all United States conflicts.
Once the Utah Fallen Warrior Memorial Committee had obtained a portion of the wall, it went on an 18-day statewide tour visiting St. George, Moab, Lehi, Blanding, Vernal, and Logan to name just a few. Along its journey, people touched the wall, reflected on the events of 9/11, and remembered those who sacrificed their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.
After the statewide tour, an official dedication ceremony took place on October 21, 2013 at the Fort Douglas Memorial Park, located behind the Fort Douglas Museum. Joining in the dedication ceremony was Utah Governor, Gary Herbert, the University of Utah Army ROTC, and other military and civilian dignitaries.This piece of the twin towers will serve as a reminder of the men and women who not only died on September 11, 2001, but also for those who fought in the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For generations to come, this memorial will remind us how precious life is and that it is possible to resolve conflicts through peaceful means instead of destroying mankind.
The Fort Douglas Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from noon to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.