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C of O Unveils 9/11 Memorial, Steel Beam from World Trade Center

Scott Harvey
The steal I-beam is part of the "Lest We Forget" 9/11 Memorial at College of the Ozarks

The remnants of a World Trade Center I-beam recovered after 9/11 is now a symbol of remembrance at College of the Ozarks.

Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU

The school in Point Lookout unveiled the roughly 8-foot tall structure Friday, on the 14th anniversary of the attacks that took nearly 3,000 lives. It sits at the center of the new “Lest We Forget” 9/11 Memorial, adjacent to the fire station on campus.  

More than 1,000 citizens, uniformed military and emergency personnel and college staff and students were in attendance.

“The reason we’re doing it as we are is to make sure that students of all ages understand 9/11 and what happened and what we never want to happen again,” said C of O President Dr. Jerry Davis:

Fourth graders from the Truett Cathy Lower School of the School of the Ozarks, located on campus, presented roses to three families in attendance that lost love ones on 9/11.

The steel remnant is referred to as “St. Michael’s 37,” named after the patron saint of police officers and honoring the 37 fallen men and women officers from the Port Authority for New York and New Jersey who perished on 9/11. The entire memorial, which also features a 9/11 National Remembrance Flag along with the U.S and Missouri state flags, is intended to honor all that lost their lives at the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

Deedee Williams brought the two toddlers she was babysitting to the dedication ceremony. Her son, Hayden, is an explorer with the Taney County Fire Department and participated in the event. Williams remembers exactly where she was 14 years ago.

“In fact I was changing Hayden’s diaper when the first plane hit,” Williams said. “And so it’s really nice that he could be here, we talk about it every year, and we watch everything every year. And it’s just really important.”

Marine Corps veteran Joe Schrodt was a squad leader in Vietnam. The names of 44 of his fellow Marines appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.  Schrodt, who was also an air traffic controller during 9/11, applauded the school for educating the younger generation about the attacks.

“They not only need to understand but they need to remember. Too many times we allow history to take those memories away,” Schrodt said.

Which C of O hopes it can prevent with its memorial, noted President Davis.

“Make no mistake about it; we are still living in a time of clear and present danger. And if we forget the lessons of the past then we’re likely to pay a higher price in the future.”