Clear Lake Fire Dept. to honor 9/11 victims

[anvplayer video=”5134125″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – Sunday marks 21 years since the September 11 attacks where more than 3,000 people lost their lives. A day that changed our nation, and history, forever.

On North 8th Street in Clear Lake lies a piece of history. A beam from the north tower of the World Trade Center. The story behind it, circles back to Iowa.

Over a decade ago, a group of Clear Lake firefighters included Dean Hess, a retired Clear Lake firefighter, and EMT, joined others in a more than 1,000-mile-long journey. A journey to New York to pick up and bring back a piece of American history. During their journey, they stayed with a host fire station in the lower part of Manhattan. How did they meet? One of them stayed at the Clear Lake fire station during Ragbrai.

RELATED: Remembering 9/11

“They were just wonderful hosts to us there,” said Hess.

“Took us around, showed us their training facilities. Just amazing. Housed us, fed us.”

Hess describes it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Like many, he remembers where he was and what he was doing when he found out the towers had been hit. The attack became much more personal for him when his son Nathan, who was serving in Japan called.

“He was very angry in a sense that this had happened on his watch as he put it, and was very disturbed by that.

“He said ‘I got to leave. I’ve been called to general quarters.’ I later learned President Bush put out an alert to all American forces around the world after this had happened. I literally heard that alert go out in Japan.”

The Clear Lake memorial was dedicated in 2012 and every year on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the fire department hosts a memorial event. This year, Hess is the guest speaker.

The beam was purposely placed outside so people can come up and touch it and remember what happened on September 11, 2001. Never forgetting, the lives lost.