As of Sept. 11th of last year, 1,027 artifacts of the World Trade Center towers have found new homes in communities all across America, as well as in Italy, England, Canada, France, Germany and an American Air Force Base in Afghanistan. While we may never know for sure just exactly where this piece of steel once stood as part of tower 1 or tower 2, here’s what we do know about it.
The section of steel given to the Ellsworth Fire Department is a section of steel I-beam, one inch thick, roughly 7 feet long, and weights approximately 400 lbs. It has been stamped with inventory number H-0052a. It is still in its natural state with no modifications other than where it was cut and sectioned to make the piece more manageable by the WTC Artifacts Program of the New York & New Jersey Port Authority.
When you first look at it, you will notice immediately the obvious bend in the steel – a result of the twisting when it came crashing down. On closer inspection you will see an even more interesting characteristic. At one end, judging by the roughness of the grain, it looks as though the steel was cut by a large blow torch – like it was possibly cut out of the wreckage on scene. One can only imagine.
The Ellsworth Fire Department has waited over two years to have the piece processed and delivered. The department did not have a choice on an exact piece, taken from a specific location, but did have a choice in the size of the steel. No one knew what it would look like until it arrived.
All the World Trade Center steel is being housed in hanger 17, an 80,000 square foot hanger located at JFK airport in Queens. Court approval is required to gain ownership, since the pieces are still considered crime-scene evidence. There is no cost associated getting an artifact other than the cost of transportation which is paid by the new owners of the steel. The only other requirement is that communities displaying the artifact cannot charge an admission fee to see it.
Now that it is here, plans are being set into motion on how to make this important piece of our nation’s history into a living tribute to those lost on September 11, 2001. The final resting place has yet to be determined, but the public will always be welcome to stop by the station and view it until such time a fitting memorial can be constructed.
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