Chatham welcomes World Trade Center wreckage

Posted March 26, 2011 5:01 a.m. EDT
Updated March 27, 2011 11:03 a.m. EDT

— A piece of wreckage from the World Trade Center displayed in Chatham County Saturday will become the centerpiece of a memorial to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The 19-foot-long beam was displayed on the 9-11 Memorial Tribute Trail through the county, escorted by firefighters, law enforcement, EMS workers and forestry agents. It made stops in Pittsboro, Goldston and Siler City.

"The intent of the memorial is to honor the many heroes of 9-11, including firefighters, rescue teams and law enforcement officers," County Commissioner Pam Stewart said.

Fire Marshal Thomas Bender said the county requested a piece of the World Trade Center some time ago and only recently found out it would receive one.

Goldston firefighter Jody Allen volunteered to take his personal diesel truck and trailer up to get the beam at the Port Authority in New York City Thursday. The Lowe's Home Improvement store in Pittsboro donated two large American flags to drape the truck and beam.

"After the Tribute Trail, our next steps are more challenging," said Don Lein, president of the Chatham Parks Foundation.

The beam from the World Trade Center will become the centerpiece of a memorial in Chatham County to the emergency responders and others who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

"The 9-11 attacks claimed the lives of 2,977 victims, including 411 emergency workers. It changed our nation and each of us individually," Stewart said.

A five-member planning committee is selecting a location and fund-raising for the memorial.

"We want it to the be the type of memorial that encourages people to honor and reflect on the lives lost and their own personal connection to the lives lost and their own personal connection to the 9-11 tragedy," Lein said.

The county hopes to have the memorial open this fall in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

"This is a huge project that will require a lot of work from many people in Chatham County," Stewart said. "But I have faith that by working together, we can get this done, so we have a memorial that will be a source of pride throughout the region, not just Chatham County."

Anyone who wishes to donate or volunteer to help build the 9-11 Memorial can call Don Lein, with the Chatham Parks Foundation, at 919-542-4790.