Miami County Sept. 11 exhibit to focus on unity in community

Selena Loyd, executive director of Miami County Veterans Services and an Air Force veteran, is organizing an exhibit around the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

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Selena Loyd, executive director of Miami County Veterans Services and an Air Force veteran, is organizing an exhibit around the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

TROY – Selena Loyd was looking for something to help bring people divided back together.

She settled on the anniversary of the traumatic and historic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the Tunnel to Towers 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit now scheduled to visit Miami County Sept. 10-12

Loyd is executive director of Miami County Veterans Services and an Air Force veteran.

She brought the idea of the exhibit to her veterans’ services commission whose members agreed to bring the exhibit to the county on the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11.

Plans for the visit are taking shape.

“Many things have been going on in our country since that event took place,” she said of Sept. 11.

“It was my desire and time to do something to bring attention and awareness that we need to get back together. We have been having too many things that separate us. It is time to focus on unity,” Loyd told the county commissioners April 6. “I figure what’s best and what has touched me is this Tunnel to Towers exhibit.”

The exhibit is an 83-foot tractor trailer, which transforms into a 1,100-square foot exhibit designed to further educate about the events of Sept. 11. The exhibit is accompanied by first responders who lived through that day.

Tunnel to Towers is a nonprofit foundation. It honors the sacrifice of Stephen Siller, a firefighter who gave his life to save others on Sept. 11. The organization also honors military members and first responders who sacrifice for their country through a number of charities and events.

Locations for the exhibit were considered before the Miami County Fairgrounds was selected. It was the perfect choice, said Loyd because the activities being planned are for the entire county.

Helping organize the activities is the Miami County Agricultural Society including board member Valerie Mullikin. Miami County Public Health has been contacted about COVID-19 and what measures will need to be followed during the event, she said.

While veterans’ services is covering the cost of bringing the exhibit, sponsors are being sought for other expenses and events being planned to go along with the exhibit.

Plans are being made for an outdoor dance the evening of Sept. 10 at the fairgrounds.

On Sept. 11, a “search and rescue” scavenger hunt is being put together along with a noon parade from Troy to the fairgrounds. In the works for Sept. 12 is a memorial service with flyover.

Milliken said all events will be free except for food from food trucks being lined up for the events and camping that will be offered at the fairgrounds.

Exhibit hours will be 1-9 p.m. Sept. 10 and 11 and 1-7 p.m. Sept. 12.

Exhibit goals include education for younger people.

“We’ve have to do it because it is really necessary. When you think about, those who voted in this last election, the youngest voters weren’t even born then,” Loyd said. “If we don’t keep history going, it will repeat itself, and that’s the type of history we don’t need to repeat.”

Miami County’s will be the only visit of the exhibit to Ohio this year, Loyd said.

“I am really amazed, we are the only ones in Ohio getting this, this year and we get it on 9/11,” said Commission President Greg Simmons.

More information on Tunnel to Towers Foundation is available at tunnel2towers.org.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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