A piece of Tower 1 from the World Trade Center made its way to the Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department Wednesday to be used as a memorial for the community.
Thomas Buchta, a member of the department, said receiving the metal is important for many reasons.
Brothers Daniel and John Martin, of the Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department, lost their father, Peter C. Martin, a lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York’s Rescue 2 in Brooklyn, during the 9/11 terrorist attack.
“It’s significant for us and for the community to remember … what really took place that day and how many people sacrificed and are still to this day perishing because of illnesses that they received from the Trade Center,” he said. “It’s never-ending. [There are] so many to remember. We don’t ever want to forget what happened. We never want to see that happen again, so that’s why it’s important to remember what transpired that day so we keep vigilant and never let it happen again.”
Bob Thornton, another firefighter at Cold Spring Harbor, said the moment has been 14 years in the making.
“It all started back on 9/11, when we got the call to go in,” he said. “I was fortunate [enough] to be one of the 12 guys from our department that went in.”
Thornton said he and other firefighters were sent to Belmont Park to wait to go to Ground Zero, but after three days, they were discharged and sent home.
“It’s like the end of a dream,” he said of finally having the metal come to their community. “I’ve written letters for 14 years to try and get this metal. You kind of lose steam when nothing happens and the years roll by. Now we’re finally coming to fruition.”
Members of the department picked up the beam early Wednesday morning at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey storage facility, transported it to the North Shore along with units from the New York City Police Department, the Suffolk County Police Department and others.
The steel beam is 17 feet long and 4 feet wide and weighs about 18,000 pounds. According to the department, it is one of the last remaining pieces of steel available for use as a memorial.