We all remember where we were on September 11, 2001. It was a day that will forever evoke recollections of unspeakable horror and sorrow. It reshaped the face of our nation and shook our sense of safety to its core. The motto, ‘Never Forget’ has become synonymous with 9/11. And for three gentleman in our community, the ‘Never Forget’ sentiment has propelled a 10 year campaign to erect a 9/11 monument here in Brownsburg. Their tireless efforts to bring this idea to fruition are paying off in leaps and bounds. And with an active capital campaign gaining steam, the 9/11 monument will soon be a reality.
Brownsburg Firefighter Jim Miller, an Army veteran, came home from his private sector job the night of September 11 with an overwhelming desire to make a difference; a feeling shared by many in those first few weeks. But, for Jim, those feelings didn’t wane as time went on. He followed through on that calling and began a new career as a firefighter. He tells us, “I had never even considered it. I wasn’t the kid with the plastic fire helmet. I never saw it, but it is exactly for me. It has been a real blessing.” Jim has served with the Brownsburg Fire Territory for thirteen and a half years now.
In 2008, just a few years into his service with BFT, Jim became aware of the distribution of steel artifacts from the World Trade Center. He sought permission from the chief to put in a request, which was granted. It was a long, arduous process moving through the local and federal red tape. But, after receiving their approved court order from the United States District Court, a step that had to be taken on every 9/11 artifact allocated to groups throughout the country, Jim and a small team (Donnie Ross, Ryan Miller, and Alex Brand) set out for the hanger at JFK airport where the items were being stored.
The group was able to tour the hanger and see the items stored within- countless pieces of mangled steel, an elevator shaft, and smashed vehicles, just to name a few. Some of the remains had tributes that had been scratched into them by loved ones during the response effort. It was a somber and moving tour. Jim tells us, “Everyone has those things that they remember for the rest of their lives. Going through that, looking at all those things, that is one of those things for me. You’d see columns that were at the base, tremendous in strength and size, and they’ve just been twisted like a tin can.” It was a moving experience for the entire group and drove home the magnitude of the events of 9/11 in an even deeper way. The team of firefighters placed a large flag, donated by Mathews Mortuary, over the artifact, loaded it into a trailer, and brought it to its new home at the Brownsburg Fire Territory.
For Brooklyn native turned Brownsburg resident, Glenn Nulty, getting this monument built has been a top priority. Glenn was an apprentice Iron Worker for the Iron Worker’s union, Local 40, in New York City. He worked on the South Tower from 1969 through 1971. The Army would bring Glenn to Indy, and eventually Brownsburg, in the late 80’s; a community he has called home for more than thirty years now. After being made aware of the artifact in 2011, Glenn became an active and integral part of the mission to construct the Brownsburg 9/11 Memorial.
Today Glenn Nulty and Brownsburg Fire Chief Larry Alcorn, along with Jim Miller, are heading the effort to bring this long awaited dream to fruition. Through the team’s diligent work, a beautiful space at Arbuckle Commons has been set aside for the 9/11 Memorial.
It has been 10 years since Jim Miller and team brought the hallowed piece of steel to Brownsburg. Fundraising for something of this magnitude takes time, especially when it is being done without the help of tax payer dollars. The Brownsburg 9/11 Memorial is being funded entirely through charitable donation. It is key for the community to come together, businesses and residents alike, to help complete the memorial and provide this important piece of history its proper reverence.
It is a moving experience to see, in person, the piece of steel that will be displayed in the Brownsburg memorial; the edges still bent from the destruction of that day. ‘Never Forget’ isn’t a slogan, devoid of meaning. It is our solemn obligation to remember the atrocities of that day, to honor all the lives lost, and to educate the generations who come after us. Memorials are a fundamental piece of that process.
If you would like to donate to this important cause, there are three ways to do so: Donation checks can be dropped off at the Brownsburg Fire Territory Headquarters building on Northfield drive. By mail, checks can be sent to the Hendricks County Community Foundation (HCCF), 6319 East US Highway 36, Suite 211, Avon, IN 46123. Please include “9-11 Memorial Arbuckle Commons” in the memo portion of your check.
Donations are also accepted online at www.hendrickscountycf.org. Click the Donation Tab at the top and Select/Enter an amount. In the Drop Down Box choose “Existing Fund” and select 9-11 Memorial Arbuckle Commons. Complete the donation by entering contact and payment information. A printable receipt will be available immediately and your donation is tax deductible, a letter from HCCF will be sent for tax purposes.
The Brownsburg Fire Territory would like to thank the following Signature Level Donors for their donation at the $2500.00 and above level. They are Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN, Mowery Heating & Cooling, Brownsburg, IN, Home Goods Distribution Center, Brownsburg, IN, and LifeScience Logistics, Brownsburg, IN. Your donation at the Signature Level of $2500.00 or above will be recognized at the memorial site.
On May 13th, 2019, the artifact was placed in its permanent home. The Brownsburg 9/11 Memorial is now complete, however the fundraising continues. In an effort to complete this project without the use of tax payer dollars, more money is still needed. Please consider donating today!