Twin Towers steel sent for memorials across America

NEW YORK Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:42pm EDT

1 of 7. Members of the Wauseon Ohio Fire Department secure an American flag over a section of steel on a truck at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport June 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks nears, workers at an airplane hangar filled with World Trade Center steel have dispatched charred hunks of metal to towns across America for building memorials.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the steel left behind when the World Trade Center collapsed, has already dispatched thousands of artifacts and is hoping to fill hundreds of last minute requests before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when many memorials will be unveiled.

"These serve as centerpieces of history for towns all over the country," said Bill Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York.

"The public will have access to this piece of history displayed with honor, dignity and respect."

The most iconic pieces, such as the last standing column of the World Trade Center and a FDNY Engine 3 fire truck, will be on display at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum when it opens on September 12 this year.

Most of the 12,000 pieces of steel the program began with have been dispatched to fire departments, police departments, and cities from 50 states and five countries which requested a piece of World Trade Center metal.

"People have short memories," said Frank Byrnes, at the hangar to help escort a piece of steel donated to the St. James Fire District on New York's Long Island. "If it raises public awareness, even after 10 years, then it's great."


The Port Authority hopes to move most of the steel before the 10th anniversary but will continue to give out steel until the supply is exhausted.

Meanwhile, Hangar 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport has become a sort of museum for the men and women who come here to transport their piece home.

The Wauseon Fire Department from Wauseon, Ohio drove 10 hours overnight to transport a 12-foot, 3,615 pound piece of steel home. While at the 80,000 square foot hangar, they took a tour of the artifacts.

Among the items catching the attention of Wauseon Fire Captain Neil Kuszmaul, 34, was a mangled fire truck.

"Being a firefighter and looking at this pumper, it really brings things into perspective of what we lost that day," he said.

The hangar is full of contorted pieces of steel as well as burned fire trucks and police cars.

A slipper sits atop a pile of dust-covered clothes. Messages from well-wishers scribbled and stuck on debris have been eerily preserved.

The application to be given artifacts is long and the process is complicated, intended to discourage frivolous requests.

For the St. James Fire District in Long Island, New York, it took two years to be granted a "bow-tie" piece of steel which was part of the outer steel lobby of the World Trade Center.

"We have done a lot to make this happen," said Liam Carroll, assistant chief of the St. James Fire District.

The steel has a deeper meaning for Carroll and his brigade. They lost one of their crew members, Douglas E. Oelschlager, when he was detailed to a short-staffed Ladder 7 on September 11, 2001. Many wear a laminated photo of him in their hats.

"It gives us something to reflect on," Carroll said.

World Trade Center steel has already been used at some well-known sites. The USS New York, commissioned by the U.S. Navy, was a vessel built with over seven tons of the steel.

A monument dedicated to nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, killed during the attempted assassination of U.S. Senator Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona last year, also used World Trade Center steel since she was born on the day of the attacks.

(Editing by Mark Egan and Jerry Norton)

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Comments (1)
Eng.21 wrote:
While these iconic pieces of history will be humbly displayed as centerpieces of memorials in towns and cities across America, the only memorial none of it is welcome at is the “National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center.”

So a handful of self-involved intellectuals can replace 9/11 with a massive, politically correct design that does not blame anybody for anything or say we need to do anything about it.

My name is Michael Burke, on 9/11 my brother Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., Eng. Co.21 gave his life. I served on the family advisory committee on the memorial and the museum center.

911 Memorial/Museum Foundation officials have ruled that nothing that speaks directly to the attacks may be restored to the site and included in the memorial “to protect the integrity of the design” (; jury statement).

The iconic WTC Sphere stood in the WTC plaza for 30 yrs. On 9/11 though damaged it survived the attacks in place was embraced as a symbol of the strength and resiliency of America. It will NOT be returned to Ground Zero. One 9/11 anniversary memorial architect Michael Arad told me that it would “didactic.” That is, it would tell us what to think.

Like we were attacked.

The crushed fire trucks and other authentic artifacts will be hidden out of sight in an underground museum, Manhattan’s first and only.

The memorial will not recognize the innocence of the victims nor the guilt of the terrorists (that would be telling us what to think). It will not include the acronyms FDNY, NYPD or PAPD. It will not include the words “firefighter” or “police officer.”

Scores of 9/11 family members and thosuands of others have signed my petition Save the Sphere at On facebook look under causes, save the sphere.

Do not hesitate to contact me at

Jun 24, 2011 11:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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