Ground Zero

By Lauren Schultz

“Ground Zero” a 9/11 memorial. Located next to the Brockport Fire Museum at 237 Main Street (Route 19) in Brockport, NY.

This memorial is one that people see every day driving through Brockport. Its a tribute not only to the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th, 2001, but also to all the workers in the Twin Towers, the passengers on the flights, and the NYC Department of Sanitation workers who cleaned over 100,000 tons of debris.

Brockport firefighter Scott Warthman, a former chief, watched the news footage that day. He saw a photograph by Thomas Franklin that was published in the newspapers. In it, three New York City firefighters were seen raising the US flag amidst the ruins of the World Trade Center. The photo evoked another famous photograph, “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,” taken by Joe Rosenthal toward the end of World War II. Warthman wanted to honor the firefighters who died that day. He decided to recreate the scene taken in the now famous photo. Less than a year after the attacks “Ground Zero” was dedicated in August 2002.

Inspiration photo taken by Thomas Franklin at ground zero on 9/11.

The memorial includes many important features along side the three firefighters, including two memorial pillars that eerily resemble the Twin Towers, bricks with names of lost loved ones, a piece form the ruins of the Twin Towers themselves, and engravings that honor millions as well as Scott Warthman, who died in a car crash in December of 2003. He is honored due to his efforts as a firefighter and how he pushed for the building of the monument. The Scotty Memorial Stone was dedicated on September 11, 2004.

Each brick names an individual or location related to first responders.
A structural steel beam and terrazzo marble tile recovered from World Trade Center wreckage is part of the Ground Zero sculpture in Brockport, NY.
The two pillars in this photo are used as a dedication plaque and honorable mentions; they can also be seen to resemble the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
D. Scotty Warthman dedication stone at Ground Zero memorial in Brockport, NY.

Every year since the attacks on 9/11, citizens gather in Brockport to honor the first responders to honor all of the life lost on that tragic day in American history. 

Sources

Robin Lally, “9/11 Responders Might Face Greater Risk of HPV Throat, Tongue Cancer,” Courier News and Home News Tribune, 10 September 2017

Paul J. Lioy, and Thomas H. Kean, Dust: The inside Story of Its Role in the September 11th Aftermath (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011)

Author interview with Brockport NY Fire District members, 15 November 2021

This Day In History: September 11, 2001—September 11th Terror Attacks, speech by President George W. Bush

1 comment

  1. Nicely done. Great that you did interviews. Scott’s death was so sad – a careless driver t-boned his car.

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