The piece of 9/11 memorialized at UCCS

Luci Schwarz 

[email protected] 

     Sept. 11 marks the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Many UCCS students may have been too young to remember or were not yet born when the Twin Towers fell, but there is a piece of history on campus to serve as a reminder. 

     Dedicated on Sept. 12, 2011, UCCS received a steel plate from the ruins of the World Trade Center. After a memorial was designed by Peter Gorder, associate professor of engineering, the piece went on display for the public in the Osborne Center for Science and Engineering. 

A steel plate from the ruins of the World Trade Center.
Photo by Taylor Burnfield.

     Before UCCS recieved a steel plate from the fallen buildings, the university briefly housed an eight foot steel beam before it was taken, via ceremony, to a permanent home at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force station.  

     Gorder and a team of students, with input from campus, designed a display for that piece, which prompted the National Homeland Defense Foundation to allocate another piece of the remains to stay permanently at UCCS. It now serves as the sister display to Cheyenne Mountain’s, and a campus reminder of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

     This exhibit is designed in the shape of a globe,  which represents the strength and connectedness the U.S. retains while also serving as a reminder of the many people who lost their lives and those who sacrificed themselves to save others.  

     Inside the middle of the globe is the plate from New York. Surrounded by all of the continents of the world, the structure is meant to symbolize unity. 

     Gorder said that he thinks it is important to remember those events as they were a defining moment for the country. Recalling where he was the morning of the attacks, he said, “Going to work was very surreal.” For Gorder, it was difficult to concentrate after. 

     The grief felt that day was also followed by fear that these attacks would not stop in New York and Washington D.C., according to Gorder. 

     It is important for this generation of UCCS students to remember these events and honor the fallen with memorials. Gorder believes that memorials like the one at UCCS provide a valuable opportunity to remember these events, honor the fallen and preserve a piece of the nation’s history. 

     The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in addition to the National Homeland Defense Foundation, have sent out over 2,600 pieces from the former World Trade Center across the U.S. in an effort to preserve the memory of the events that happened that day. Several pieces can be seen in Colorado. 

     The memorial is located on the main campus in the Osborne Science and Engineering Center. 

The memorial outside of the Osborne Science
and Engineering Center. Photo by Taylor Burnfield.