9/11 Memorial in Kewaskum serves as educational resource for new generation

NOW: 9/11 Memorial in Kewaskum serves as educational resource for new generation

KEWASKUM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Many visitors will make their way to small town Kewaskum as we approach the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Kewaskum is home to the Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial - a plaza centered around a 2,200-pound steel beam recovered from the North Tower.

It features learning stations, a sculpture and a survival tree, planted from seeds of a tree found in the rubble after the attack.

The memorial was inspired by Andrea Haberman, a 25-year-old woman from Kewaskum who died in the attack while working in the North Tower.

The Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial was completed in June 2021. Since then, it has served as an educational source for students across the state, teaching a new generation about the day no one will ever forget.

"It's normally our first subject we learn about," said Cayden Whitaker.

His class from Coleman High School traveled more than 130 miles on Friday to visit the memorial in Kewaskum.

The powerful installment has turned the small town into a field trip destination.

The students only know about the event from history books and second-hand stories.

"My Mom was in class when it happened, and just like everyone else, they brought in the roll-in TV and watched it from class," Whitaker said.

"Other events that happened in the past, you don't really get to hear other people 's perspectives, you only read about it in the history books, but for this, you can actually hear it from people that experienced it," said Coleman student, Ella Van Ermen.

That's the purpose of the memorial - to honor the fallen in a place where everyone can learn.

"If we don't look at the past and learn from that, then we can't have a better future," said the memorial's executive director, Anne Trautner.

She spends many days speaking to visiting classrooms at the memorial.

"Education is something that never ends. We can all learn. And this is a place to come to learn, remember and reflect," Trautner said.

Visitors come to do just that - reflect - surrounded by symbolism from the tragedy that completely changed our nation.

The memorial serves as an emotional reminder of the importance of connection and commemoration.

"Remember those who were lost, but remember how we all came together as well," Trautner said.

Kewaskum's annual 9/11 Remembrance ceremony is taking place at the memorial at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11.

CBS 58's Emerson Lehmann, a Kewaskum High School graduate, will be a guest speaker at the ceremony.

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