For at least the past 10 years, Tabernacle Township first responders have possessed a piece of steel recovered from the site of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
According to Fire Chief Keith Zane, the piece was first acquired through the student government at Kenneth R. Olson Middle School. The school then gifted it to the Tabernacle Rescue Squad, so a 9/11 memorial could be established somewhere within the small municipality.
Other 9/11 projects were discussed over the years without any action – until now.
Exactly 21 years after the terrorist attacks – Sept. 11, 2022 – Tabernacle finally commemorated its own site to remember those lost on that fateful day.
Nathaniel Zane, Zane’s son and a member of Boy Scout Troop 439, completed his Eagle Scout project on the grounds of the Tabernacle Emergency Services building, creating a memorial space with steel from 9/11, complete with a commemorative plaque alongside an existing American flag.
Nathaniel first began planning his project more than three years ago, coming up with a few ideas that included finally following through with the township’s intended 9/11 memorial.
“Over the years since they were gifted the steel, membership had generated various ideas a couple different times about what the project would look like and how the steel could be used in a memorial,” Keith Zane said. “Some were more elaborate than others, some were larger or more expensive than others, so it ultimately became difficult at times to get out of that planning stage. So it (the steel) remained in possession of Tabernacle Rescue Squad this whole time, just waiting for the right time.
“In 2019, when my son was old enough to start thinking about his Eagle Scout project, he had a few ideas, with one of them being that 9/11 memorial, so that both the school and the rescue squad could finally see that project come to fruition,” he added.
The pandemic long delayed the project, but Nathaniel was able to follow through with the project’s planning, design and completion in time for a special ceremony on the second Sunday in September, the 11th.
“We went heavy into planning everything out and coordinating with the Tabernacle Rescue Squad to keep the overall look of the space more simple,” Nathaniel explained. “It felt good to be able to actually get this project completed and have the memorial in place.
“I had a mother speak with me after the ceremony we held that morning and said that she appreciated the project because she had lost someone,” he added. “So it’s nice to know that this memorial is already something that’s kind of important I think.”
The ceremony commemorating the memorial included first responders from throughout the township as well as members of Nathaniel’s Scout troop. Both he and his father would like the memorial to be utilized in the future as a location for memorial services by the township or other organizations.