9/11 is now more than a date on a calendar
September 11, 2001, changed America and the course of our history forever.
Like the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, it brought war to our doorstep and made everyone in America more aware of our responsibilities as citizens.
It also showed us how communities can come together in time of need and how everyday heroes emerge when called upon.
These are the lessons that Montana State University Billings and our community partners wish to preserve and impart to the next generation of Montanans.
Recovered steel from World Trade Center serves as memorial
Through efforts led by faculty and staff at MSU Billings, a piece of World Trade Center steel I-beam recovered from Ground Zero has been given to the university.
Weighing about 600 pounds and measuring 6 feet long, the twisted I-beam will be the centerpiece of a memorial at City College. Constructed just east of the entrance of the Health Sciences Building, the memorial will stand as a silent witness to the memory of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
Visitors to the memorial can reflect not only on the historical significance of 9/11, but also on the sacrifices made by true heroes—the firefighters, first responders and service-oriented professionals—who work in our communities on a daily basis.
Making sense of complex questions and ongoing issues
While Montana's 9/11 memorial serves as a reminder that "We Will Never Forget" and honors those who serve others, it also provides a venue for education.
The tragedy of 9/11 and the events that followed still generate strong emotions and feelings on a variety of levels. Sept. 11, 2001 revealed severe ideological hatred, but it also showed the profound human capacity to care for one another.
Education about the events transcends differences of race, nationality, religion, economic strata and political affiliation.
Educators at all levels will be encouraged to use the memorial as a tool to teach the importance of history and using that knowledge to serve our community and nation.
Memories can be honored through service to others
Those involved with Montana's 9/11 Memorial want to make sure it inspires others in the Billings community and in the state to dedicate themselves to the values of patriotism and civic engagement.
Whether students choose a career path in a field that serves others, whether citizens decide to use a few hours of time each month to work as a volunteer or whether retirees help make the community a better place through a United Way project, there are many ways to make 9/11 more than just a day on a calendar.