YONKERS, N.Y. – A 38-foot steel beam that once supported a tower at the World Trade Center has made its way to Yonkers and will soon take its place as a Sept. 11 memorial.
Draped with an American flag and escorted by a fleet of Yonkers police officers, the 4,000-pound beam arrived Wednesday in Yonkers on the back of a semi-truck, where it was greeted by city politicians and a small crowd of spectators.
City officials said it was an important, yet solemn reminder of the events nearly 11 years ago.
“This is a sad, sad piece of history,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, noting that 24 residents of Yonkers died in the terrorist attack. “People know that when they touch it, that something happened that day, something real.”
The steel beam, given to the city by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, will be housed in a Sept. 11 memorial inside Conor Park, at Central Park and McLean avenues. The city will have a ceremony for the memorial’s opening at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11.
“This is a small thing we can do in Yonkers to remember those who lost their lives and those who came to our defense,” City Council President Chuck Lesnick said.
Wednesday’s welcoming of the steel beam was the culmination of a yearlong effort spearheaded by Spano and City Council member Dennis Shepherd to bring the piece to Yonkers. More than a decade later, the events of Sept. 11 have had a lasting impact not only on New York City but on communities around the country, Spano said.
“It’s still very close, very personal,” he said. “It still hurts.”
Officials are unsure of exactly where in the World Trade Center the beam was from, and they haven’t determined exactly how it will be displayed. Still, Spano said he hoped the memorial would serve as a source of consolation as well as a teaching tool.
“I hope it becomes a place for families to come and to find at least some comfort,” he said. “I hope it’s a place for kids to come and to learn and to know that if we don’t learn from our history, we will repeat it.”