When Jeff Cox, a 15-year-old candidate for the rank of Eagle Scout in Windermere, Fla., approached the small town’s mayor with park improvement ideas to help earn a badge, the mayor informed him that those projects were already covered.
“He came back and said, ‘Would the town like a memorial if I can get World Trade Center steel?’ ” Mayor Gary Bruhn said. “I was stunned. I said, ‘Son, the town would be elated to have something like that.’ He said, ‘I think I need the town’s support. I don’t think they’re going to just give it to me.’”
No, they would not — but close. As the anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, approaches on Friday, pieces of the World Trade Center rubble from that day have never been more accessible. A new campaign is under way to speed up the process and increase the volume of giving away pieces of steel big and small from the debris.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the steel, will invite police and fire departments and mayors and other leaders of cities and towns throughout the country to ask for pieces for memorials. The Port Authority has filled about 25 requests in the last year, and has about a dozen more pending. In recent weeks, trucks have hauled twisted steel columns that weigh hundreds of pounds to York, Pa., and Westerville, Ohio. A smaller piece was shipped to the Air Defense offices of the United States Air Force in Rome, N.Y.
“The best way we can honor the memory of those we lost on 9/11 is to find homes in the W.T.C. Memorial and in cities and towns around the nation for the hundreds of artifacts we’ve carefully preserved over the years,” said the Port Authority’s executive director, Christopher O. Ward…
In Windermere, a town of 3,000, the prospective Eagle Scout, Jeff Cox, got the mayor’s support for his project and was waiting for his steel. He was just 7 when the attacks took place. “I wasn’t really sure what the building was, but it kind of scared me,” he said. “No one was really sure what was going to happen.”
He said he has been promised a big piece. “They sent me about six options to pick from,” he said. “I ended up taking part of a steel beam, about three and a half or four feet, 650 pounds.”
Bravo! And RTFA. You might wish to check up on your local well-read municipal government to see if they’re doing anything in this vein – or not – depending upon your own thoughts on the concept.