With nearly 1,800 miles between Pueblo, Colorado, and New York City, it is hard to believe the two cities have anything in common. But, on May 18th a dedication ceremony and concert, Rock N’ Steel, will take place honoring a memorial that will pay tribute to the lives lost on September 11, 2001, bringing the dissimilar communities closer together.
In August 2011, the Center for American Values held an event titled, “We Remember to Never Forget.” New York firefighters who responded to the events on September 11, 2001 were invited. Scott Jones, Vice President of the non-profit, says the firefighters were really impressed with the event and with Pueblo in general. “They told us they were giving us a gift. At the time we didn’t know what it would be.” Later, the Center learned it was a piece of steel resurrected from Ground Zero where the World Trade Center once stood. The steel arrived in late February and will officially be displayed in front of the Center located on the River Walk after the Rock N’ Steel event.

The ceremony will also involve various members of the Colorado National Guard.

In 2010, local hometown hero Drew Dix founded the Center for America Values. Its mission is “to honor the extreme sacrifices made to help sustain America’s values and to ensure these extraordinary actions are preserved…forever.” The Center has no political or religious affiliation. “The organization was established to honor values that any American has,” says Jones. While located in Pueblo, the Center has a national footprint with programs in most states.

May 18th also marks the beginning of Pueblo’s fourth annual Wild Wild West Festival. To celebrate the donation, the Lt. Dan Band will take the stage at 9pm. The band was founded by Kimo Williams and Gary Sinise (yes, that Gary Sinise). They have dedicated about 75% of their work to the USO with shows overseas.

The 12-member band got their name after Sinise realized that his fans most often recognized him from his Oscar-nominated role in Forrest Gump, Lieutenant Dan.

“Being as the Lt. Dan Band does so much work entertaining America’s troops, it is only right they perform at a this event,” says Jones.

by Kara Mason