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Chatham County already has a 9/11 memorial

By Patrick Barnes
Posted Saturday, December 26, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - I've been thinking about this for a few weeks, now, and I believe I have an excellent idea- it will bring attention to a preexisting structure here in Chatham, honor a fellow Chatamite for building it, and won't cost a dime. Well, potentially, anyway..

Five miles west of Pittsboro, just past Progress Energy, is Buckner-Clark road, on your right. Just before you would begin to slow down to take that road, glance to your right, at the two pillars- one black, one white- in the field between the road and the old farmhouse that is there. Ever wondered what that was?

Joe Kenlan is a Chathamite- a friend, a father, and a mason. I've known him for nigh on 20 years - great guy, Joe. I'm not sure the exact reason he was spurred to action, but he built those two pillars in remembrance of one of the darker days our country has lived through. As soon as I read the post about a chunk of the towers being shipped down here, I knew what I wanted, and hopefully, what you, Chatham, will come to want, as well.

I've been telling myself for a few weeks now, I should call Joe and see what he thinks, and dingdangit, wouldn't you know, I just ran into him at the grocery store an hour ago. I asked him if he had heard about this proposed 9/11 memorial on the local chatlist, and he looked at me and said what I was hoping he'd say- Pat, we already have a memorial!

Yep, well, so I told him I had thought about contacting him, and that would he mind if I said something about it. He smiled, said yes, and mentioned we could even move it to some other location if that's what is needed. I'm using the word "needed" with some reservation because the proposal talks about the new park off Big Woods, and well, the current memorial is already in a good spot, in my opinion..easily viewed, easy access.

I have ten minutes to finish this post, I have to go pick up a chunk of what 's left of the towers at RDU..his name is Dwayne Walls, Jr., son of Dwayne, Sr., a local legend (think UNC Journalism). Well, Dwayne, Jr. was at the towers, working, the morning of 9/11. And if I had my 'druthers, that's the chunk I'd prefer to continue to view for many years to come.

There are a few stories to tell, but suffice it to say for now.

Call Joe Kenlan, he's in the phone book. I think he would be flattered if Chatham honored a Chathamite. Let's make the memorial we have the memorial we keep, and live with. No need to go shipping stuff around, other than the ones we love, and have.

Make the Kenlan 9/11 Memorial a reality- oh, it already exists.

If it comes to a vote - vote no to chunks of stuff, but vote yes to my best friend Dwayne always being welcomed home.

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