Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Headquarters Maryland Wing Civil Air Patrol Memorial Plaza Completion

August 12, 2020 — GRANITE, Md, — Led by Civil Air Patrol Colonel John Knowles, members of the Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol (MDWG) completed the memorial plaza at their headquarters complex on July 24, 2020. The plaza, consisting of steel I-beams donated from the remains of New York City’s World Trade Center and dedicatory brick pavers, honors MDWG’s dedicated service to the nation, Maryland, and each members’ community.  Visitors to the plaza can not only see the beams and memorial bricks, they can also physically touch each and really get a sense of the power of community service. 

The idea to construct the plaza originated in 2012 shortly after New York and New Jersey Port Authority agreed to donate steel I-beams, recovered from the World Trade Center rubble, to MDWG. With the support of Clark Construction Group of Bethesda, Maryland, anchor mounts were fabricated to support the beam’s display in front of the MDWG headquarters. On October 21, 2014. the beam and accompanying bronze plaque were put on display with the assistance of local crane owner and Gold Star parent, Mr. Tom Barbieri.

Engraved on the plaque are the following message that serve Civil Air Patrol Airmen for many years to come:

9-11-2001

This memorial is dedicated to the 2,973 people who perished in the terrorists’ attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, those killed retaking Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., and their families.

When all other aircraft were grounded, a Civil Air Patrol aircraft provided the first direct aerial perspective of the disaster site for the federal government following the attacks of 9/11 in New York.

The two Symbol Steel I-beams were part of the Twin Towers in New York City and were given to Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol.  During the recovery efforts at Ground Zero, workers used cutting torches to fabricate symbols for rescuers and victims’ families from some of the larger pieces of steel.  Many of these are on display in the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City.

It is hoped that all the members of the Civil Air Patrol, those who have served on the frontlines of our homeland defense since December 1, 1941, as well as all others, remain “Always Vigilant.” May we never forget the events of September 11, 2001.

Over the years, the beam and plaque solitarily stood awaiting the laying of the memorial bricks for plaza completion.  Plans to implement the brick inlayed plaza were made and with several execution dates scheduled; but given evolving circumstances, the venture never got off the ground. Though the memorial plaza completion remained in hiatus, numerous memorial bricks were purchased by MDWG members and placed in storage awaiting placement in the plaza.

On July 18, 2020 under leadership of Col. Knowles, a team of MDWG airmen gathered at the planned plaza site and endured the Maryland summer heat and brought the project completion. The team placed underlying filter fabric, spread several hundreds of pounds of sand to create a base for the bricks, assembled the MDWG Command shield and placed memorial bricks to form the plaza.  Less than a week later, the project was complete.  A dedication ceremony for the plaza will be scheduled in the future.

MDWG would like to extend its gratitude to Col. John Knowles, Maj. Teri Knowles, and the many others that came together to take the plaza from concept to fruition.

Bricks can be purchased for placement on the plaza.  Each brick may be engraved with a message and memorializes loved ones that rose to serve the country, state, and respective communities.  To order a memorial brick online please visit: http://www.polarengraving.com/MDCAP

Nearly 1,500 members serve in Civil Air Patrol’s Maryland Wing. Last year, wing members flew 13 actual search and rescue missions. Overall, the Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland, flying 2,245 hours in all mission categories, and was credited with four finds. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For information, contact the Maryland Wing at http://mdwg.cap.gov or follow the wing on Facebook.

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1st Lt Jeffrey Robertson, MDWG PAO (jeffrey.robertson@mdwg.cap.gov)

Photo Credit: Col. John Knowles, Deputy Chief – Plans/Programs, National Headquarters

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