Vermonters carving history lesson for future Americans

Published: Jan. 23, 2019 at 5:10 PM EST
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"There is going to be a point in time when everybody that was alive when 9/11 happened were no longer here and without seeing that human face on what happened, we can sometimes forget how big of a deal it was," said Sgt. Maj. Casey Gomo of the Vermont National Guard.

Gomo says 9/11 changed the course of his life. He was set to become a civilian but the attack convinced him to stay in the military.

Now, a new granite memorial is being carved in Barre to honor those who died from the toxic fumes at Ground Zero. Our Ike Bendavid talked with the workers who are carving a history lesson for future Americans.

Inside Rock of Ages in Barre, crews are chipping away at their current assignment.

"It's really exciting-- exciting project," Andy Hebert said.

Hebert is one of the dozen workers - hammering away at what will shape up to be a memorial to those who got sick from exposure to toxins from the aftermath of 9/11. That includes rescue and recovery workers and even those who lived in lower Manhattan.

"Every time you see it on TV you remember," Hebert said.

He works at Rock of Ages but he's also an assistant fire chief in Plainfield. Hundreds of firefighters died on 9/11 and from the lingering fumes.

"To do this for our brothers who lost their lives and being a firefighter, too-- it hits home," Hebert said.

"This one here hits close to home because everyone lived through it," said David Fournier of Rock of Ages.

Fournier is overseeing the project. He says they won the bid over a year ago. The chisels first hit the granite earlier this month.

"To be a part of this is pretty special," Fournier said. "Something you tell your friends about."

Fournier says the granite is from Canada but in Barre, they are applying the finishing touches to the memorial. Eventually, it will stand at the national September 11th memorial in New York City.

"There is six that are roughly 12-, 14-feet long and 7-to 8-feet wide. Each one weighs 30,000, 40,000 pounds," Fournier explained.

As Hebert continues to work, he says being able to do this for those who have sacrificed is an honor he won't forget.

"I have put 41 years in this here and I get to put all of that skill into creating a monument for them that will last forever," he said.

The project is expected to be completed and installed this spring in New York City.

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