BRIGHTON (AP) – Two firefighters gently lift an American flag off a 10-foot piece of rusty steel, which is several inches thick and twisted upward at one end.
Brighton Area Fire Department Capt. Greg Mowbray said steel that thick shouldn’t bend like that. It’s a reminder of the force that bent this 936-pound piece, which used to be part of the World Trade Center. The New York City buildings crumbled to the ground during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Based on the holes in the center of this steel used as utility pipes, this section was likely used for one of the sky lobbies, which were on the 44th and 78th floors.
In April, five Brighton firefighters drove 12 hours to New York to pick up the artifact of the Trade Center from the Port Authority of New York. They then drove back and stored the steel in the department’s station in Livingston County’s Genoa Township. They wanted to honor the 343 firefighters who died in the attack and make sure no one forgets.
“We had to honor them,” Lt. Jim Boisvert said. Voted the 2010 Brighton firefighter of the year, Boisvert was part of the group that drove to pick up the steel piece.
The piece of steel will be hoisted and on display at the new 9/11 memorial being constructed in front of the department’s main fire station in Brighton. The new memorial will be dedicated to firefighters on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The public is invited to the dedication, which will start at 9 a.m. and is expected to draw over 1,000 people.
Mowbray, who helped coordinate the memorial, said this dedication is a way “to be able to recognize the sacrifices of that day here in our town.”
“I think a lot of people have forgotten that day,” Mowbray said.
He was working at the sprawling Detroit Diesel plant in Wayne County’s Redford Township at the time of the attacks, and as news of the attacks began circulating, he said, “You could hear a pin drop.”
Mowbray recalled how the Brighton area and country pulled together immediately after the attacks, and then things went back to the status quo a few years later.
“It’s not that we’re pro-war,” Mowbray said. “We just want people to remember that this took place on U.S. soil, and we’re not going to forget their sacrifices.”
He said the memorial will be “breathtaking.”
The steel will be suspended in midair, held off the ground by four cables attached to four steel beams.
Visitors will be able to view the steel from all sides by strolling on a walkway, and there will be signs with details of when the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; an additional plane also crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
Mowbray said numerous Brighton-area businesses and organizations have donated their services and materials to construct this memorial with no expense to the taxpayer. He said the memorial could have easily cost $250,000 to $300,000 if it wasn’t for these donations.
“I cannot say enough about the people who have gotten behind this project,” he said.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.