For the 3,600 proud Americans working at Pantex on that fateful day, the events of September, 11, 2001, can never be forgotten. The impact of the airliners crashing into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and an open field in Pennsylvania reverberated at the nuclear weapons plant near Amarillo, Texas. The nation that Pantexans had worked to defend for more than 50 years had been attacked.
11 years later, in a ceremony outside the Pantex Fire Department, a memorial was dedicated that will ensure the memories of that terrible day will long outlive us all. Etched in marble, flanked by two quartz towers and topped with a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, the memorial to all who lost their lives in the attack has now become a permanent part of the landscape at Pantex.
“9/11 has become a day of special commemoration across our nation,” said B&W Pantex General Manager John Woolery, speaking at the dedication. “Taking the time to remember the tragic events and the loss of life has been woven into the fabric of our lives, and we should never forget that day.”
Pantex Fire Department Battalion Chief Donavon Morgan led the initiative to acquire the 100-pound, 42-inch steel beam that was the centerpiece of the memorial. The steel, which was sent to Pantex by the New York/New Jersey Port Authority, was placed on top of the 1,600 pound monument at the end of the ceremony Tuesday.
Mark Padilla, Assistant Manager for Programs and Projects with the NNSA Production Office (NPO), also spoke at the ceremony, capturing the emotion of Sept. 11.
“It is extremely appropriate that we place this memorial in front of the building that houses our first responders, because it serves as a symbol of our gratitude for the service they provide to this plant,” Padilla said. “It also serves as a bridge between our first responders and the first responders who gave their lives on that fateful day.”
The ceremony featured the Pantex Honor Guard presenting the colors and lowering them to half-staff, followed by the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence for those who died. Following comments by Pantex leadership, Pantex Security Police Officer Jamie Johnson sang “America the Beautiful” before the steel was placed in the memorial. Two smaller pieces of steel in display cases were presented to Woolery and Padilla for display at B&W Pantex and NPO offices.
About the photos:
A memorial in honor of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is dedicated at Pantex Tuesday. The memorial, which features a steel beam recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Center, was built in front of the Pantex Fire Department.