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Shards of World Trade Center Steel Inspire 9/11 Memorials Across America

In Tinley Park, Oak Lawn, Frankfort, Palos Hills and hundreds of other communities, chunks of steel from the Twin Towers beget memories of a day to mourn and prayers for a future of peace.

Shards of a symbol, hunks of steel.

Bolt-studded, fire-scarred beams that until 9/11 supported the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York now lie scattered across American towns — reminders of the morning over which there remains mourning.

In hundreds of American communities, each piece recalls a day to remember, a hope for the future, a prayer for one peace.

From historic Savannah, GA, to glitzy Beverly Hills, CA, 9/11 isn’t one moment or a decade’s acknowledgement but a constant commemoration. In the Southland, the steel also connects us to the memory. World Trade Center steel has been delivered to , , and Palos Hills.

During the past three years, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center, has World Trade Center steel lies at the heart of monuments in 50 states, several other countries and the USS New York.

Patch has reported on the acquisition of those artifacts and construction of associated memorials.

That coverage is represented on the national map with this story. Blue flags indicate dedications set for Sunday; red flags indicate existing or planned memorials.

No ordinary monuments, these near-sacred relics have been sought and claimed by firefighters and Legionnaires, town folk and clergy, teenage Scouts with no kin among 9/11’s victims and school children too young to have formed their own memories of its images.

In 2008, the Port Authority began releasing remnants of World Trade Center steel debris from Hanger 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where it had been hauled and stored during the site clean-up. Again, Americans stood shoulder to shoulder over 9/11, gathering for the passage of beams and debris. They lined streets, highways and bridges. Bagpipe bands played “Amazing Grace.”

UPS shipped smaller chunks in plain packages. Larger, heavier beams left the hangar, one by one, draped in flags, covered in roses and strapped to the back of fire engines, pickups or flatbed trucks for solemn processions to new resting places.

Most arrived amid escorts of firefighters and paramedics who traded battered turnout coats for formal dress blues, spurred by spiritual kinship with the 343 New York firefighters and medics who died after responding to the attacks. Some pieces resembled rustic crosses or oversize anvils, while others were more akin to shimmering pieces of abstract art even before their incorporation into thoughtfully conceived monuments or lush gardens.

View Our Photos: The gallery that accompanies this post features photographs from Patch towns around the nation and their pieces of World Trade Center steel.

— By Cindi Lash, Patch.com

jen urbanski September 10, 2011 at 02:21 PM
Im very proud to say my husband was one of the firefighters from tinley to go to ny to pick up a piece of the world trade center!!
Deb Melchert September 10, 2011 at 02:43 PM
Jen, to your husband and all of our first responders, THANK YOU!! Not just for going to NY to bring back something so precious, but for the risk they're willing to take every day of the year.
Greg Bewley September 10, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Kevin Bewley, retired Midlothian firefighter, also petitioned the Port Authority. Midlothian received a shard of 9-11 which will be given a place of honor in the park where Cavillini's was located.
jen urbanski September 10, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Thanks Deb for such a nice comment!!!

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