For the 16th year of his tribute to the victims of 9/11 at his home, Orange County Fire Authority firefighter Scott Townley realized a dream he’s had for the display since the beginning.

This year, he has added solid, granite plaques throughout the display to give it a museum-like feel. Each plaque explains the various aspects of the display in Townley’s words.

“This year, I got to do what I’ve wanted to do for many years, which was do a self-guided tour,” Townley said.

The plaques are “exactly like you would see at a museum,” he said.

The firefighter also has bright lights in each yard to illuminate the display and the plaques so visitors can come by any time and get an explanation without Townley having to supply one personally.

“I don’t have to be out there explaining what’s going on” with each part of the display, he said.

The granite and plaques were donated by KP Fab of Costa Mesa, which provides laser engraving and other similar services, Townley said.

“I just gave them the 200 words or less for each plaque,” Townley said.

Then he built wooden stands for them, he added.

The reaction from visitors has been effusive, he said.

“They’re saying stuff like that is a beautiful, professional touch we put on it,” he said.

Townley’s brother-in-law introduced the firefighter to a friend at KP Fab, and after dinner they put together a plan last year, Townley said.

The memorial to the victims of 9/11 and the ensuing war on terror has grown since the first year. Now, for instance, he has 3,077 pictures of victims mounted on 12 four-by-eight walls.

The victims include first-responders who succumbed to injuries sustained from digging out Ground Zero in New York City, he said.

As for the list of names of troops who have died in combat triggered by 9/11, Townley said it exceeds 5,700 now.

The memorial started with a single, hand-made sign and about 20 flags in 2001. Now it also includes 343 crosses for the firefighters who died helping victims in the attacks, 74 crosses for the Port Authority officers and police officers who died in New York City, and an 8-foot-tall wooden cross that bears the names of the victims killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and the downed plane in Pennsylvania.

The 16th anniversary of the attacks also will be marked in Orange County Sunday by:

–A memorial ceremony at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, which will include a performance by a 200-member choir and band, remarks by Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes, who is running to succeed retiring Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, and former NYPD Sgt. John Curtis, one of the terrorist attack first responders.

–Cook’s Corner motorcycle bar will hold its annual 9/11 memorial ride. The event begins with a pancake breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and then it’s “wheels up” at 10 a.m. at Cook’c Corner at 19152 Santiago Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon.

–City News Service

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