ANTHONY, Kan. (KSNW) – For folks who live outside Anthony, it might initially seem bizarre the state’s official 9/11 memorial was built in this small town of 2,300 people.
Yet in the heart of Memorial Park lies the Anthony 9/11 Memorial, built with dirt and debris from each of the 9/11 crash sites.
“This is living history,” Donna Crowe, chairperson of the Anthony 9/11 Memorial, said.
Crowe says a special connection made in the wake of 9/11 sparked the idea for a memorial in town.
“The day after 9/11, Mayor John Schott asked me to find a family that we could adopt so that we would know where the funds that we raised would go to,” Crowe said.
The Anthony community adopted the family of fallen New York firefighter Joseph Spor—a young father assigned to his company just three weeks before 9/11.
“So we thought they’d be a good fit for us,” Crowe said.
Through close friends of Spor, and countless others raising funds, the memorial was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2004.
“People were coming out and touching the steel—it was remarkable,” Crowe said.
Crowe says family members of 9/11 victims from as far away as New York and Australia have visited the Anthony 9/11 Memorial—paying tribute to a tragedy nearly 1,500 miles away.
“You know it’s, it’s very, this memorial is very special to us—and it always will be,” Crowe said.
The memorial will serve as the site for Anthony’s 9/11 20th Anniversary Memorial Service starting at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Former Anthony Mayor John Schott will be this year’s guest speaker, while the Wichita Caledonian Pipes & Drums will lead the march to the memorial.
The group will also perform with the Chaparral Choir and Larry Dean Olds.
Crowe says masks are recommended but not required for those in attendance.