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Fort Irwin breaks ground for 9/11 memorial site
FORT IRWIN • U.S. Army Col. Jon Braga remembers exactly what he was doing 12 years ago when he heard the country was the victim of a terrorist attack.
Braga, Fort Irwin’s Garrison Commander, and his wife knew their lives would be significantly impacted.
“I was actually training on a range for my job and my wife called me when the first tower was hit,” Braga said. “We were pregnant with our first child and she started crying, knowing our life was going to change dramatically. I’ve been deployed for at least half of the last decade. I’ve missed a lot of family moments, and those you don’t get back. None of the other soldiers out there get that back. That’s a tough thing.”
Close to 50 people attended the ceremonial ground breaking on Wednesday for a memorial site at Fort Irwin dedicated to the 2,996 people who were lost in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Fort Irwin Director of Emergency Services Mike Butolph presented several concept designs of the memorial. Butolph said artifacts from the attacks will be incorporated into the memorial, including two shards of metal from the World Trade Center.
Braga was the keynote speaker and asked those in attendance to think about how the day will be honored in the future.
“It was emotional speaking today, but it’s always good to reflect,” Braga said after the ceremony. “I think it’s going to be awesome. Hopefully when people walk by the memorial, maybe they can take a moment out of their busy everyday life and try to remember the bigger and important things in life and to also be thankful for a lot of things. Hopefully it helps foster those feelings of thankfulness.”
In hopes to receive funds for the memorial site, Stephen Chavez and Michael Fiore directed and produced a documentary entitled “Bound: The Story of Fort Irwin’s Emergency Services.”
After the ceremony, the film was shown, followed by a 9/11 church service.
The film was originally going to be about the history of the Fort Irwin Fire Department, but when Chavez and Fiore visited the Army post, they knew there was a bigger story to be told.
Fiore described the film as telling the story of what the emergency services on the installation do to protect the men and women who protect the country.
The film took about seven months to complete after five days of shooting. According to Chavez, there were a lot of sleepless nights and 18 hour shifts as the crew weeded through all the interviews and put together the film.
Chavez said the film was not made for profit; all the proceeds will go toward the building of the Fort Irwin 9/11 Memorial and toward scholarships to families that were directly affected in the attacks.
On Tuesday, the film premiered to about 260 people at the Fort Irwin Movie Theater and raised approximately $2,000.
For more information about the film, visit www.weareanyone.com.
Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com.