Boot Hill, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, Matt Dillon, Miss Kitty and Gunsmoke readily bring to mind images of cowboys, shoot-outs and Dodge City, Kan. Now, Dodge City also comes to mind when the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy is mentioned.
Why? Because Dodge City was the first community in Kansas to obtain a fragment of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 tragedy. The 1,200-pound, 4-foot section of steel was retrieved from Ground Zero in New York City. Today, through the efforts of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. and the Dodge City Community Recycling Environmental Waste (CREW) program, that solemn hunk of iron is on display in Dodge City’s Liberty Garden as a monument of remembrance and solitude.
Liberty Garden, located in historic Wright Park, displays the World Trade Center section of steel atop a brick pillar, with the United States flag proudly flying high overhead. Below, a bronze plaque reads: “In honor of those whose lives were taken on September 11, 2001. Keep America Beautiful, Inc. as well as individuals and organizations throughout the city of Dodge City have created this memorial as a tribute to our nation and the resilience and strength of its people.”
Flanking the pillar are two 110-inch-tall steel replicas of the twin towers, fashioned into waterfalls, and each standing guard in its own pool. The towers are separated by a walkway to the monument.
On Sept. 11, 2002, just one year after the 9/11 tragedy, the Liberty Garden memorial was dedicated. It is a place of reflection and honor, and is worth a visit to Dodge City to see.