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Parade heralds groundbreaking ceremony for 9-11 memorial

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Milton’s 9-11 Memorial Committee is taking an important step on Sept. 11 when they will host both a groundbreaking ceremony for the upcoming memorial and a ceremony for Patriots Day.

“It’s a twofold thing. It’s the 14th anniversary of 9-11, and we want to have a Patriots Day ceremony as well as groundbreaking for the new memorial,” 9-11 Memorial Committee member Jack Chandler said.

Chandler and the committee hope the project will be completed by the end of next year. They plan to keep the memorial simple, which not only allows for easy maintenance, but also a focus on the steel beam itself.

The beam stands a towering 36 feet tall and thousands of pounds, and comes from Building Two of the World Trade Center, grid 442, which was a window section comprised of high beams and structural material stretching from the 91st to the 94th floor. Chandler has been working on the project for over a decade, and his breath was taken away when the beam arrived in Milton.

“Truthfully, [I was] speechless because when I saw it, I really couldn’t say much. I was just so thankful it was here,” Chandler said.

The memorial will be the perfect location to hold events for Patriots Day, but will also serve as a reminder of the events that happened 14 years ago.

“You reflect on that day 14 years ago and it’s an emotional thing when you reflect on the events that happened,” Chandler said.

Before the ceremony at noon, the beam will be taken around the cities of Fife, Milton and Edgewood, escorted by various groups of motorcycle riders.

“Right now we’re looking at the ballpark of about 75 bikes,” Chandler said.

In addition to the bikes, the mayors of Milton, Edgewood and Fife will all be in attendance and will travel with the convoy.

The route will start at the Fife Storage Yard at 10 a.m. on Freeman Road, and from there, the route will:

-turn on to 20th Street E.

-turn left to 70th

-turn right onto Pacific Highway

-turn left onto Port of Tacoma Road

-turning left on 20th

-turn left on 20th past Fife High School

-Following 20th to Yuma and up to Edgewood

-Turn left on 24th to Milton Way

-turn left to 15th

-continue left on 15th and end at the Veterans Memorial in Milton.

Chandler and the committee want citizens to be aware of the parade going around the city, so they have the opportunity to pay their respects.

“People might step outside their doors to pay respects, and we want to get the information out there so they have that opportunity,” Chandler said.

The parade will end at noon, where the groundbreaking ceremony will take place. Flags will be flown at half mast and a ceremony for Patriots day will also be held, which will hopefully be a recurring tradition at the memorial.

“One of the goals is to have this memorial so on Patriots Day we can have ceremonies at the 9-11 memorial,” Chandler said.

Construction will begin on Sept. 11 with the steel beam being put in place hopefully within half of a year, and the official memorial being completed by Sept 11, 2016. Once it’s been completed, maintenance of the memorial will pass to the city, and Chandler and the committee’s 10-year journey will be completed.

“We want people to know what happened,” Chandler said in an earlier interview. “The only way we can get the point across in why we have the freedoms we have, we remember the events that changed the world.”

The memorial will require donations to be fully funded, but Chandler and the rest of the committee have decided to push the fundraising efforts back in order to not take away from fundraising efforts for injured first responder Daniel Lyon, who can be supported at