News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 3, 2011

Small 9/11 display, big message

Plaques honor those who gave their lives

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — While sitting on a shaded picnic bench near Terre Haute City Hall, Elnora Allen glanced at 50 small plaques honoring 343 firefighters and first responders who perished during the World Trade Center attack a decade ago.

“I like the display. I just hope it stays up. I got upset when the flags were taken down [at the Indiana mile],” around Memorial Stadium, said Allen, a city employee. “That was uncalled for.”

“This display is small, but it is there. That’s all that matters,” she said.

Allen said she vividly remembers where she was on Sept. 11, 2001, when a terrorist attack was made in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa.

“I was at the hospital with my aunt. She had just got taken down for surgery. We, the family, were just put in the waiting room. All of a sudden we heard all these people in the hallway say, ‘Oh my god, did you see that?’ We turned on the TV and saw what had happened,” Allen said.

“I cried. I couldn’t believe it,” Allen said, recalling watching the burning World Trade Center towers collapse. “It was the saddest moment to see something like that.”

Michelle Walden, of Paris, Ill., an intern for a city office sitting next to Allen, said that while she likes the display, “if I had not walked over here to the picnic table, I would not have noticed it. It needs to be bigger.”

Earlier in the day, Deanna Evans of Libertyville also sat on a picnic table near the display. “It’s nice that it is here and is something to be appreciative of what they did,” she said of firefighters in New York City.

The memorial is a program initiated by and coordinated through the Lakeville, Minn., Fire Department and is being instituted in a collaboration with the Terre Haute Fire Department and fire departments nationwide.

The plaques will remain on display here through Sept. 14.

Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.