Located behind Pease Auditorium, at the corner of Cross and Perrin streets at the southeast end of Eastern Michigan University’s Campus is EMU’s 9/11 Memorial. The Memorial is made up of a 14-foot support beam from the South Tower of the World Trade Center and it weighs about 6,800 pounds. The beam reads “south” and has the number “74” written on it. it is assumed that this means this beam came from the 74th floor of the South Tower. The beam appears singed by the molten metal that rained down upon it from the 78th floor where the second plane crashed into the tower on the fateful morning. Below the beam are the two six-inch concrete supports which stand upon the four concrete steps. The steps read:
IN HONOR OF THE MANY LIVES LOST IN THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, AND TO RECALL/
THE COURAGE SHOWN BY SO MANY ON THAT DAY, WE SOLEMNLY PLACE THIS MEMORIAL HERE.
MAY WE FOREVER REMEMBER THEIR LIVES AND THEIR COURAGE.—EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2011.
The wording for the Memorial was proposed by professor of American History at EMU, Mark Higbee. The location for the memorial came out of many discussions by committees of faculty, students and administrators. Early reports were that the Memorial was to be built outside of Halle Library, where it would be very visible to all campus members. Committee members finally agreed upon its current location where they felt its display is more, “reserved and respectful and not directly accessible to passersby," said Colin Blakely, head of the EMU art department.
The project cost $25,000 and was primarily paid for by donations and in-kind contributions. The lettering alone cost $1,900. EMU president Susan Martin requested the artifact from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and it was delivered by members of EMU’s Physical Plant all the way from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. On the return trip to Ypsilanti the Head of Physical Plant Operations, John Donegan, reported that people who saw the beam were, “very emotional when they see it...We’ve had people cry over it, we’ve had people pray over it, we’ve had people get mad when they see it.” Donegan himself described the Memorial, “It’s really a community piece.”