Prior to the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center, the City of Conover became intimately involved. A contingent of officials from Conover were given the opportunity to claim a remnant of the World Trade Center for commemoration and display in Conover. They traveled to New York City and returned with a footing from the North Tower that will be on permanent display at the new Conover Station. The following is an account as reported in the Hickory Daily Record (September 10th, 2011)
Conover Fire Chief Mark Hinson and Fire Engineer Mark Stafford examine the 9/11
remnant piece of the Twin Towers. This was a support footing from the bottom of
the North Tower. (photo by Robert C. Reed, HDR)
CONOVER — It’s a square of reinforced concrete and rusting steel that otherwise wouldn’t garner much attention or comment.
But when you realize it’s from a lower level of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, it seems to take on a whole new meaning. The bent and ripped steel in the section speaks volumes about the implosion of the tower after terrorists flew a commercial airliner into it on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s amazing at how this thing looks after seeing the destruction that took place that day,” said Fire Engineer Mark Stafford at Conover Fire Station 1, where the piece will remain until a permanent location for it is determined.
The piece arrived at the fire station on Friday on the back of the flatbed city truck that carried it from New York. Fire Chief Mark Hinson, Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer, City Manager Donald Duncan, Don Barker and Bradley Dixon traveled to New York this week to bring the piece to Conover.
Hinson said the group went to Ground Zero Wednesday night to view the site where the Twin Towers once soared above the skyline of Manhattan. Two holes remain where the towers once sat, Hinson said, and red, white and blue lights illuminated everything that night.
“It was just a feeling of pride and what America is,” Hinson said standing near the piece. “It made you feel good to be an American.”
A fire station across from the site has a 40 to 50-foot-long memorial for the 343 firefighters who lost their lives that day, Hinson said. Having the piece gives him a sense of being part of something a lot larger and connects them to what happened on 9/11 and what those firefighters went through, he said.
On Friday, Stafford talked about the attacks as he stood near the piece. The last time he was in New York was tor New Year's Day 2008, he said. He and a group of other firefighters were staying in a hotel beside the lire station that housed Engine 54 and Ladder 4. The station, even though it is in midtown Manhattan, suffered the most casualties on 9/11. losing 15 firefighters, according to news reports.
One day during their visit, Stafford and his friends were walking by the fire station when Stafford heard someone from the station yell for him. Turns out it was firefighter Matt Boone, a former Asheville firefighter who had gone through some training with Stafford. Boone, who is now an NYC firefighter, took Stafford and the other firefighters in his group on a tour of the fire station, which is in the Times Square area.
A memorial made up of three mantels that hold the picture of each firefighter, their date of birth and the date they died, as well as their firefighter shield and badge off their helmets, sirs in the fire station, Stafford said. Cleaning the memorial is the first thing that is done at the station every morning, he said.
Visitors aren’t allowed to take photos of the memorial. Stafford said, out of respect for those who died and their families. Standing near the concrete and steel piece from the North Tower on Friday, Stafford told of a little girl who made a good grade in school and stopped by the fire station to leave it at her father's picture.
City of Conover officials vied for a remnant of the towers after learning the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, which owned the World Trade Center, had items it was giving away.
The piece, which Hinson estimated weighs between to 1,700 pounds, will be dedicated on Sunday in a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The ceremony starts at 8:45 a.m. at the park in downtown Conover, across from the police department.
City officials welcome the public to stop by Fire Station 1 to see the remnant during normal business hours.
The 9/11 remnant piece of the Twin Towers was
a support footing from the bottom of the North
Tower (photo by Robert C. Reed, HDR)
Conover Fire Chief Mark Hinson removes straps
from the 9/11 remnant piece of Twin Towers.
This was a support footing from the bottom of the
North Tower (photo by Robert C. Reed, HDR)
[Courtesy of the HICKORY DAILY RECORD, September 10, 2011, Sharon McBrayer reporting]
BRINGING HOME A REMINDER OF 9/11
Engine and Ladder Company, NYFD
Engine 10 - "Still Standing"
Memorial wall, Station 10
"May We Never Forget"
On the fork lift in New York City...
...loaded on the truck, bound for Conover
Conover contingent (L-to-R) City Manager Donald Duncan, Don Barker, Tom Prendergast,
Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer, Conover Fire Chief Mark Hinson, Brad Myers of Public Works.
(photo by Nick Prendergast)
Conover Fire Crew
9/11 Dedication Ceremony
["Bringing Home A Reminder of 9/11" photos by Don Barker, except as noted]
All photos courtesy of Don Barker
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