A Quincy soldier who designed the city's September 11th memorial is back home.
Cpl. Ryan Keller's returned home March 20 greeted by his family and friends who awaited eagerly for his return.
"Coming home was amazing," he said. "You miss a lot of stuff at home. I got to see my kids, and I got to cut my grass this weekend so it was a good time."
Keller was one of hundreds of soldiers from the Oklahoma-based 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team who came home this month after serving nine months in Afghanistan. He is connected to Quincy not only by his family roots but also a through a memorial that sits at City Hall. It reminds him why he chose to serve in the military.
"The 9/11 memorial was something that I brainstormed back in 2001 to do something for the victims," he said. "I've haven't yet made it to New York but I just wanted Quincy to have a connection to those events so that we never forgot."
It was Keller's Eagle Scout project that took years of effort, but is now forever engraved into the heart of Quincy.
"It was really great to have the memorial put together by the citizens of Quincy in small donations that raised $20,000 to have this memorial here today," Keller said.
The design came from Keller himself. It's foundation--the pentagon--framed by the Twin Towers with an angel watching over emergency responders.
"When I was building the memorial, I also wanted a piece of the Twin Towers and I think it's really amazing that they were able to get this piece here," Keller said, looking at a metal, twisted structure to the north of his memorial.
A piece of rubble from the antenna of the north tower lies just feet from the memorial that pays tribute to the thousands lost that day and those still serving in their honor.
Click here to read that original story.
"I hope that everybody that serves can be proud of this memorial and know that they have a close connection regardless of how far they may travel from home. Whether it be local police officers and firefighters in the surrounding area or anyone serving in any branch of the military," Keller said.
Keller says after serving six years in the military, this memorial hits closer to home than he'd ever expected.
The 9/11 memorial was dedicated in 2002.
It's counterpart, the artifact from the north tower, was dedicated last fall during the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. While in Afghanistan, Keller's two children and fiance Emily Sprinkle attended that anniversary ceremony in Quincy.
You can find their interview here.