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Mountain Home 9/11 Memorial raises $15,000 needed for construction

Mountain Home’s planned 9/11 Memorial will officially be underway after memorial organizer, and Mountain Home firefighter Tommy Feleccia announced that $15,000 had been raised to make the memorial come to life.

The memorial, which has already had its concrete base poured by the city of Mountain Home, is slated to be unveiled on Memorial Day.

“We have reached our goal of $15,000 in donations towards our September 11th, 2001 Memorial that will be placed on the Veterans Plaza in Mountain Home, AR,” said Feleccia during his announcement on Facebook. “Going back to our 20th anniversary of 9/11 event that was held last year, ideas of how to incorporate the steel from one of the Twin Towers in New York began. Many ideas came up, but I thought this monument was the best way to honor all lives and locations that were lost that tragic day.”

Concept art of the planned 9/11 Memorial in downtown Mountain Home. Art provided by Tommy Feleccia.

The city’s 9/11 memorial came about after retired FDNY Captain Joseph Russo presented Mountain Home with a 50-pound piece of steel on behalf of the FDNY during last year’s 9/11 ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the single largest terrorist attack on the United States.

Russo, Tommy Felicia’s great uncle, worked with Felicia’s grandfather, Vincent Felicia of Mountain Home, to obtain the piece of steel from the Twin Towers. Sadly, Vincent Felicia passed away on Sept. 2, mere days before the city would be presented with the piece of steel he worked so hard to procure.

Steel from the Twin Towers is managed by the FDNY and has become difficult to obtain, as much of the remaining steel has already been used for other memorials or worked into the hulls and frames of U.S. Navy ships like the U.S.S. New York.

“Coming up with a goal to raise $15,000 seemed almost out of reach,” Feleccia said. “But through this process, I have met so many incredible people and didn’t realize September 11th, 2001, affected all of us in some way, either big or small. Everyone remembers exactly what they were doing that day when our nation was attacked.”

The memorial will see the steel suspended between two 6 foot tall concrete pillars designed to look like the Twin Towers. The foot of the base will feature the words “Never Forget,” while the date of the attacks will be displayed on the side of the memorial. The memorial will also include a silhouette of the Pentagon and the number 93 to represent flight United 93.

A plaque with information pertaining to the events of 9/11 will also be installed.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks were a defining moment for the United States, which would launch the War on Terror mere months after the dust of that day settled.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of Americans’ lives ended after terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger planes and crashed them into both towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Altogether, almost 3,000 people would lose their lives, including the first responders who rushed headfirst into danger to try and save those trapped inside the Pentagon and the Twin Towers.

The passengers onboard United 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, heroically stepped forward and fought their hijackers in an attempt to regain control of the plane. The plane would crash in a field due to the struggle inside of the flight’s cockpit.

The death toll can still be felt today as many of 9/11’s first responders still suffer and die from illnesses resulting from that day.

“There are so many people that made this possible. So many people wanted to be a part of this memorial and see it built,” Feleccia said. “Our goal is to have our 9/11 Memorial revealed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30th. It is just an incredible 1,200 miles away from the City of New York, we will have a permanent memorial honoring the nearly 3000 lives lost that day. Thank you, Mountain Home!”

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