Ten days of construction remain on San Luis Obispo’s World Trade Center Memorial, which will be dedicated during a memorial service on Sept. 11.
The massive steel I-beam, once a structural support for one of the World Trade Center towers, has been placed horizontally — to match how it was installed in one of the towers — in a circular courtyard at the front entrance of the city’s main fire station on Santa Barbara Street.
“It’s rusty and scratched,” San Luis Obispo fire Chief Garret Olson said. “It’s almost as though it’s lying in state — underlit and surrounded by cement planters, but on the inside are words that describe the values of those who rushed into the World Trade Center and risked their lives.”
Artist Kathleen Caricof’s design, “Standing Tall,” will pay tribute to the 403 emergency workers who died while helping others try to escape the World Trade Center towers before they fell.
Tall metal posts — 343 firefighters represented by reddish steel and 60 police officers represented by blue anodized aluminum — will be embedded in an arc around the circular plaza.
The steel beam, weighing about 1,500 pounds, has been stored at Fire Station No. 1 since it arrived in San Luis Obispo in 2009.
It was delivered to the city by Jim Trask, a local artist and retired firefighter who drove across the country to get it, according to past Tribune reports. The Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo raised funds to assist in trucking the beam to the city.
The project cost $68,000, with the money coming from the city’s public art fund. Recreation Manager Melissa Mudgett said city officials didn’t know what piece of the World Trade Center they would get and were fortunate to receive such a large object.
“This one is significant,” she said. “It’s really emotional when you see the immense strength of this beam and know that’s what crumbled.”
Memorial planned at fire station
The memorial service at the station, 2160 Santa Barbara St., will take place on Sept. 11 at 12:30 p.m. in partnership with American Legion Post 66.
The American Legion’s 10th annual 9-11 Memorial Dedication will be held at 10 a.m. at the Laguna Lake Golf Course, according to www.slolegion.com.