Those who heard the sounds on September 11, 2001, of the millions of pounds of steel crashing down with girders many feet wide twisting like licorice due to the heat and pressure of the collapsing towers say there was nothing ever quite like it.
Over time, the steel beams were lifted out of the site and stored. Some were used to build parts of the USS New York, the bow of which includes seven and a half tons of World Trade Center steel. Now there is a process going on all around the country to salute the brave actions of the 343 brave firemen who lost their lives in what many call the greatest, successful rescue effort in the history of the world.
Small sections of those sacred steel beams from the World Trade Center site are being sent to firehouses throughout the land for ongoing memorials. They are being held in Alaska, Ohio, California and now on the East End. For example, at the Quogue Village Firehouse on Long Island, a 1,600-pound section of a World Trade Center steel beam has been placed there and is tilted toward the southern tip of Manhattan. At the Flanders Fire Department a dedication ceremony was held this year on September 11 for that village’s new 9/11 Memorial, which is constructed from two steel beams from the World Trade Center and located in Firemen’s Memorial Park.
On Wednesday, November 16, the Village of Sag Harbor Fire Department received a triangular shaped beam roughly 30 by 12 inches, and it will be prominently displayed at the department’s headquarters on Brick Kiln Road.
At the World Trade Center site a few days after the tragedy, a worker named Frank Silecchia discovered a 20-foot cross of two steel beams amongst the debris of 6 World Trade Center. It was moved with much fanfare by a huge crane to a pedestal on a portion of the former plaza on Church Street near Liberty Street, where it remained until July 23, 2011, when the cross was blessed by Rev. Brian Jordan, then loaded onto a flatbed truck and moved back to Ground Zero. It is now at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. The steel cross was the first occasion when steel was used as both a reminder of the tragedy and a sacred artifact of the disaster. Most of all, these pieces of fire-tested steel symbolize the backbone of our heroic firemen across the land whose brave actions have saved so many, sometimes risking their lives, doing their job.