World Trade Center beams to be used in local Sept. 11 memorial

County to construct memorial outside police headquarters

May 27, 2010|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

A pair of beams from the wreckage of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City have made their way to Anne Arundel County.

The beams will be used for a county memorial to the police and firefighters who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed more than 3,000.

County Executive John R. Leopold has created a committee to review applications for a design. Leopold said he hopes to have the memorial, planned for outside the county police headquarters on Veterans Highway, completed by this September — the ninth anniversary of the attacks.

"It's a visual reminder of the sacrifice that was made by public safety personnel — the men and women who gave their lives — to rescue their fellow citizens," said Leopold. "The memorial serves the dual purpose of not only remembering the sacrifice of public safety personnel, but also to be vigilant to protect our freedoms."

A local company donated the truck and manpower to retrieve the approximately 12-foot-long beams. Leopold said the county has spent no funds on the project because the beams and the transportation costs were donated.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have distributed thousands of pieces of debris to jurisdictions across the country for incorporation in memorials. Leopold first made the request last September.

Donald Willson, president of L.R. Willson & Sons Inc., a steel erection company in Gambrills, donated the manpower and a tractor-trailer to retrieve the beams. Robert Hilton Sr., an employee who is also a veteran and a former firefighter, picked up the beams early Wednesday.

The county held a small ceremony to unveil the beams Thursday afternoon in Millersville. Leopold presented representatives from the steel company with citations for their charity.

Sherrie Wilkinson, the human resources manager at the company, said, "It was an honor for us to do it."

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