CLOVIS, N.M. (KFDA) - Nearing the 15 anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Cannon Air Force Base shares the history behind an artifact they now have on display.
After 343 firefighters lost their lives during 9/11, Cannon Air Force Base officials felt an immediate connection and filed a petition to receive a steel beam from one of the fallen towers.
This almost three foot beam stands in the main entrance of the base fire station and according to officials, emotions were high upon its arrival.
"It was an honor to be approved to receive one of the artifacts," said Assistant Chief of Operations, Todd Miller. "The feeling when it actually arrived and to actually touch a piece of the World Trade Center was overwhelming."
Miller was ahead of filing the petition to receive this piece that he felt the base could well use to represent firefighters and their sacrifices.
"It was a long process," said Miller. "After following the investigations and the sorting of the materials was when the New York Port Authority began to decide which pieces would be made available."
To this day, Fire Chief Bruce Ford can still visualize what it was like on the base after the attacks. It's was like any other day that quickly turned into something unusual.
"I got called into one of the offices and was told that somebody just flew into a tower with an airplane," said Ford. "We started watching the TV and followed it like everyone else did. It wasn't too much longer until we went to very high alert conditions and the base was shut down."
In 2011, the base held their first memorial service unveiling the steel beam.
"It was a tear jerker when we unveiled the beam," said Ford "I don't think there was a dry eye. We had a rather large ceremony that day, security forces raised and lowered the flag at the time the first tower was hit and then the flag was carried to the fire station where we held the rest of the ceremony. It was quit an emotional day all the way around for us."
The fire station has no plans to change the current condition of the display, only to leave the display open where visitors have the opportunity to touch this piece of history.
"The amount of lives lost that day and to be able to touch that and pay tribute to their memory by displaying this piece is a honor," said Miller.