Byron firefighters unveil 9/11 tribute
By Jeremy Oster
Sept. 11, 2014, marks the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States of America.
To honor the 343 firefighters who perished while attempting to save the victims at the World Trade Center, Byron, Illinois, firefighter Josiah Lee Henson repurposed an expired fireman’s turnout suit as a work of art.
The unveiling of his sculpture, Josiah’s Angel, took place Thursday, Sept. 11, at 11 a.m., at the Byron Fire Station.
Fire Chaplain Gary Cortese opened the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. Cheif Galen Bennett presented Henson with a plaque created by Byron Historian Nellen Jeter. The plaque contained the front page of The Rock River Times and the article about the tribute from the July 2-8, 2014, issue.
Chaplain Cortese called for a moment of silence to remember the fallen heroes. Henson then pushed a button on a fire engine to roll up the American flag that covered the sculpture.
“To the fallen firefighters: May you rest in peace, brothers,” Henson said. “We’ll all take it from here.”
More than 100 people attended the unveiling.
The statue will be on display at the Byron Fire Station, at 123 N. Franklin St., for the public to view Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Henson said he is willing to donate Josiah’s Angel to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York.