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Decatur 9/11 Memorial unveiled

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Sixteen years ago Monday, our country changed forever after the deadliest terror attack on American soil.

Millions of people across the country took time to honor and remember the day that changed our history forever. On that day, the Twin Towers went crashing down and now, a piece of it is right here in central Illinois and stands as a memorial to all the lives our country lost. "The way we do things, the way we thought, the way we went about our daily lives changed that day," said Lieutenant Jonathan Butts with the Macon County Sheriff's Office. The day that our nation lost nearly 3,000 lives.

Storm Edwards, who was on the fundraising committee for the Decatur 9/11 Memorial, said, "Time stood still for our country and we all watched the events unfolding."

Once part of the World Trade Center, a 13.5 feet, 1,500 pound steel I-beam was awarded to the City of Decatur by the Port Authority in New Jersey. Now, it stands inside a memorial of the twin towers near the Decatur shoreline. "It actually looks like the twin towers, it's built to scale and it sits on a pentagon base with entrances at 9 and 3 o'clock to signify United 93," Edwards explained.

It wasn't just the replica of the World Trade Center that was unveiled on Monday. "There's a piece of flight United 93, the plane that went down in Shanksville, that's on display here permanently, and then now a banner and kind of a journey of the piece of steel to Decatur that's permanently on display here at the [Macon County] courthouse," said Edwards.

Lieutenant Butts said, "We want people to take away that these lives that were lost 16 years ago matter to all of us here in Macon County and here in Decatur, Illinois."

Macon County high school students also took part in the day, putting artifacts into a time capsule that will be opened on the 50th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. "It just shows you that it's not just New York, it's not just the Pentagon, it's not just that field where that plane crashed. This had ripple effects through the entire nation and the entire world and it hit home for people in Decatur, it hit home for people in California," said Jayden Smith, a senior at St. Teresa High School.

The Twin Tower memorial cost $240,000 and all of the money was raised through fundraising and donations from the community.

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