Washington County Emergency Services officials deliver beam from World Trade Center
It will be unveiled on Sept. 13 during a public ceremony in Hagerstown's City Park
The Rev. Steve Robison says a prayer upon the arrival in Hagerstown Thursday evening of a piece of one of the World Trade Center towers brought down by terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Tom Brown Jr., left, and Sam Anderson, center, brought the artifact from New York. Joining them for the prayer is Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Superintendent Junior Mason. (By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer)
The beam will be unveiled on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. during a public ceremony at the Emergency Services Remembrance Garden in Hagerstown's City Park.
Verna Brown, emergency management coordinator for Washington County, said members of the Washington County Citizen Corps Committee began working two years ago to get an artifact from ground zero of the attack site. She said the request had to go through a selection process to determine whether the item would be used respectfully.
"This was a two-year venture, and Citizen Corps' members wanted to have an artifact from NYC placed at City Park as a way of honoring and remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice," she said in a news release.
"We had to ask for it and say where it was going to be displayed," she said Wednesday.
Tom Brown Jr., professional services administrator, said he and Sam Anderson, emergency services planner, left early Thursday to pick up the beam.
On their return to Maryland in the evening, they were escorted by Maryland State Police, the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Hagerstown Police Department.
The arrival of the beam in Hagerstown was a humble occasion. After being prayed over by the Rev. Stephen D. Robison of Otterbein United Methodist Church on East Franklin Street, it was moved into the old grandstand at Fairgrounds Park.
City Parks Superintendent Junior Mason said it will remain there to be preserved before it is erected in the remembrance garden and unveiled.
For those who work in emergency services, there is a special connection to the emergency workers killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack, Tom Brown said.
Journeying to New York and seeing what remained of the rubble of that fateful day was an emotional experience, he said.
Just entering the area at JFK Airport where the New York Port Authority was housing the Sept. 11 artifacts rendered the men speechless, Anderson said.
"There are no words to describe walking into that hanger and seeing the pieces," he said.
Taking in the sight of twisted metal, mangled bicycles, generators and broken beams salvaged from ground zero transported the men back 10 years, causing them to recall where they were and what they were doing on that day, he said.
Anderson said he was 13 years old when the towers fell.
There is no way to know exactly where the 727-pound beam came from, which building or floor, Verna Brown said.
But it is now part of the Hagerstown community, a permanent reminder of a day and a group of people who will never be forgotten, she said.
The Emergency Services Remembrance Garden is near the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. It was developed by the Washington County Citizen Corps in 2002 to recognize active military, career firefighters, volunteer firefighters, emergency medical service providers and law enforcement personnel.
Among the items in the garden are two trees that were planted to honor former Washington County residents Patrick Roy and Craig Wibberly, U.S. Navy sailors who were killed when terrorists bombed the USS Cole in 2000.
Verna Brown, who was a member of the artifact committee formed to obtain the beam, said it was donated. The only cost the county will incur is the expense of sending the two people to New York to pick it up.
Other members of the committee were Anderson, Mason, Tom Brown and Brad Stotelmyer of the Hagerstown Crime Analysis Unit.
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four jetliners and flew two into the World Trade Center Towers in New York and one into the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C.. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
The terrorist attack on America claimed the lives of 2,977 civilians. Among the dead were 343 firefighters and 60 police officers from New York City and the port authority.
Three buildings in the World Trade Center Complex collapsed due to structural failure on the day of the attack.