World Trade Center artifact to tour Utah before joining memorial

Posted at 7:33 PM, Sep 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-20 21:33:31-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A giant piece of the World Trade Center arrived in Salt Lake City Friday, where it will become part of a memorial dedicated to Utah’s fallen warriors.

The 4.5 ton artifact was wheeled into Fort Douglas on the University of Utah campus, and the stop marks its first in Utah.

After a 20-city tour it will be brought back and kept at the military museum there. Suzanne Wagstaff is a Utah Gold Star Mother, and she said the memorial is a valuable reminder.

“It’s really important to me because that was a tragic moment in our history, and it touched our family deeply at that time not knowing that eventually we’d lose our son to it,” she said. “To have a piece of that here it just brings it all here.”

It will be three years to the day Saturday since Suzanne Wagstaff`s son, a black hawk helicopter pilot from Orem, was killed in Afghanistan. That day, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Wagstaff 's family became a Gold Star family.

“Nobody understands what a Gold Star has gone through other than another Gold Star, so we bond together,” Wagstaff said.

Gold Star families are the loved ones left behind by our fallen soldiers. Six local Gold Star families came together to bring the 4.5 ton piece of the World Trade Center to Utah's Fort Douglas Military Museum, where a memorial park is being created to house the artifact.

Robert Voyles is the director of the Fort Douglas Military Museum, and he said the museum tells the tale of Utah’s soldiers.

“Fort Douglas Museum, it captures the proud military heritage of all of Utah’s service men and women ever since the state was founded,” he said.

Wagstaff said the memorial is about preserving the legacy of her son and all of the men and women who have died fighting for our country.

"Our community is unlike any other,” she said. “We have so much love and support around us that it really helps us. As a Gold Star, the one thing you want more than anything, you don’t want your loved one to be forgotten.”

For more information about the artifact's 20-city tour, including times and dates, click here.