For two days, Tom Pair brought the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 to life in rural North Dakota.
The large tractor trailer parked in the parking lot outside the 4 Seasons Pavilion for two days, was a silent testament, with hundreds of people visiting.
For those two days during the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association convention, people who had only seen the terrorist attack on television had a chance to see some of the impact – in pieces of charred and twisted metal... as well as some of the personal stories of those first responders who never made it back to their stations.
Each day, Baker Truck 416 was standing vigil, showing the flag.
Some displays quietly showed the toll.
John K. McAvoy was a firefighter with Ladder Company 3 on Sept. 11. His backup bunker coat was displayed noting that he had been cited for heroism seven times. He was one of a dozen members from Ladder Company 3 who did that day. On a plaque beneath McAvoy’s equipment was part of the theme covering all the exhibits – “Never Forget.”
Next to the McAvoy display, there was one with six black-and-white photographs superimposed on a large display of the damage to the building. They were the men of Tower Ladder 105.
There were pieces of steel from the buildings inside. There were signs from destroyed fire vehicles.
There was a large poster-size image of the three firefighters raising the flag over the rubble.
There was a sign of Ladder Company 101 – the Red Hook Raiders – that was bent, twisted and discolored.
Pair is just one of the 40 volunteers who staff a mobile 9/11 memorial on a part-time basis, traveling across the country and drawing hugs and tears from some of the people who visit the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation memorial.
There also was a sculpture of Siller as he raced toward the towers that day.
Pair is a retired firefighter who spends some of his time volunteering for the moving memorial as it crosses the nation.
After packing up Saturday evening and departing Sunday, the next stop was to be in Albuquerque.
Once there, the small crew would unpack again to bring the impact of the event to another group of people.