9/11 Memorial Planned for Panama City Beach

It's a piece of American history, a symbol of the 9/11 tragedy, and it will soon have a permanent home here in Panama City Beach.

A 200-pound piece of limestone was recovered from the Pentagon building after the 9/11 attack. This weekend, members of the Beach Rotary Club brought it back with them to Panama City Beach after receiving it from the Defense Department in Washington, DC.

One hundred eighty nine people died in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and part of the building was heavily damaged.

Two years ago the Defense Department began giving limestone slabs from the damaged section to use in 9/11 memorials around the country.

Brett Pohlman was an Arnold High School senior last year when he heard about the program and told members of the Beach Rotary. Club members spent more than a year putting together plans for a memorial, and just this month they got Pentagon approval.

Ken McGartlin and Todd Herendeen were among the local group that went to pick up the stone.

"This is a very unique thing. This is the only one that we are aware of that's going to exist in the state of Florida. There are only 54 nationwide."

"These were heavily guarded, these were like headstones, so in order to get one of these was a great accomplishment, but it also was very emotional."

The student who came up with the idea is proud on the work done by local Rotarians. "To actually see it here in Panama City Beach is a wonderful thing, so we're very excited."

Beach Rotary members are now in the process of putting together a memorial display around the 200-pound piece of limestone. They plan for it to be on permanent display at Arnold High's Fine Arts Center.

Project organizers hope to dedicate the memorial on Patriot's Day, September 11.


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