BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A first responder who coordinated efforts at Ground Zero in 2001 joined Beckley first responders and others at the 9/11 tribute statue at Jim Word Memorial Park on Monday to mark the 22nd anniversary of the historic day.

First responders, elected officials, students, and others gather each September 11th in uptown Beckley to remember lives lost on 9/11.

Guest speaker Marianne “Shane” Jervis activated, counseled and cleared emergency responders on 9/11 in lower Manhattan. She said on Monday, September 11, 2023, that Americans were faithful and united as they stood in the face of the destruction at Ground Zero in 2001.

“On nine-eleven, in those moments to recovery, this nation’s top first responders came together as one, with only the help and grace of God, above,” Jervis said. “You just can’t remember what we went into, what we saw, what we felt, what we heard.”

In Jim Word Memorial Park, a remnant of the South Tower is transformed from wreckage and loss into a beacon of hope and friendship, as Americans come together each year to touch it.

“We’re all very humble and appreciative Americans, first off, and we appreciate the turn-out of the fire department, the first responders, police department, EMS workers, it’s something that, as the beautiful statue says, we’ll never forget,” said Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold. “We shall never forget.”

Every year, thanks to the planning of At-large Councilwoman Sherrie Hunter, Beckley Events Director Jill Moorefield, Conservation Legacy Director April Elkins-Badtke and others, the twisted metal from Ground Zero draws people together and gives a common sense of purpose.

Three men – Ward 4 Beckley Common Councilman Kevin Price, city treasurer Billie Trump, a retired firefighter, and former Beckley Fire Department firefighter Bryan Trump—went to New York in 2011 to get the metal.

Price remembers nearly every moment of the trip. On Monday, he reminded those gathered that 9/11 is a story of first responders pulling together, some making the ultimate sacrifice, so fellow Americans could survive.

“Ninety-nine percent of the people below the points of impact survived. Impressive,” said Price. “Nearly 30,000 people were saved that day.”

Jervis reminded Americans to be prayerful and united.

“To maintain freedom, we must take responsibility,” she said. “We must have conscience. And we must unite with a brotherly love.”