Port St. Lucie celebrates July 4th with Freedom Fest and prepares for 9/11 monument

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Port St. Lucie's Freedom Fest gave Treasure Coast residents the chance to show their patriotism.

But there's one extra way some are celebrating July 4th-- by honoring another important date in America's recent history.

A 9/11 monument will be built in front of the Port St. Lucie Civic Center. Construction has already begun, with a hole being dug near the Civic Center flags.

Just a few feet away, a flag-draped beam from the World Trade Center is displayed that will sit on the monument's top.

Residents say seeing the beam in person makes them feel even more patriotic on this Independence Day.

"Fourth of July means a lot, because that's what makes us free Americans, and independence," said Ken Ambrose, of Port St. Lucie.

Ambrose said he has been to Freedom Fest before, but this is his first time to see the raw parts of Port St. Lucie's 9/11 monument.

"It gets to your soul, it makes you feel for everyone. It bothers me even now," said Ambrose.

Dennis McKenna was part of the rescue crews near Ground Zero on that fatal day in 2001. 

He said this monument is more than just the steel you see,  he says it's the pain you feel.

"Meshing that wound, trying to heal. We'll never forget, we'll always remember, but we'll move on in never forgetting 9/11," said McKenna.

Freedom Fest workers set up their tent to collect money to support the 100% donor-funded monument.

Jeffrey Baker with Castle Contractors is one of the sponsors who are donating time, money and resources to put it together.

"We're leaving our legacy behind by being a part of this monument," explained Baker. "It will be here long after we're gone, and it's for a great cause."

McKenna says the patriotic holiday has a deeper significance for him, ever since he witnessed the terrorism attacks.

"Every year, on July 4th, it has a different meaning. We celebrate freedom, but we also remember those brothers who gave their lives for that freedom."

Sponsors are hoping to have the monument ready to go for a big unveiling by September 11th of this year.

To make a donation, contact Tonya Taylor at (772) 871-5092 or email her at TonyaT@cityofpsl.com .

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