Mayor’s Message: Harrison’s 9/11 ceremony

The following comes from Mayor Lou Manzo.

We held the dedication ceremony of our permanent 9/11 Memorial located on Main Street this past Sunday night.

It was a grand event, with hundreds of our residents in attendance, as we shut down the street for the event. Other dignitaries attended as we placed our artifacts from the World Trade Center (WTC), the Pentagon and the field in Stoney Creek (Shanksville), PA in their eternal home in the center of town. We also surprised Dennis Clowney, who served as Deputy Mayor and Mayor during his 12-year tenure on Township Committee, which ended as 2017 closed. We shared the news that the memorial will include a plaque that will recognize Dennis as the driving force in securing these artifacts and though he prefers to avoid the spotlight, he was clearly touched by this acknowledgement.

Many of you approached me after the ceremony, asking me to recount some of the artifact details that I referenced in my address on Sunday night. So, I’m going to include some of that here.

The WTC artifacts come from the 200,000 tons of steels that fell from the sky that day back in 2001. The rescue, search and ultimate excavation that commenced on that site took nine months before the last steel beam was removed. For the next six years, Hangar 17 at JFK Airport served as the forensic laboratory for everything excavated from Ground Zero, as each piece was documented based on the physical evidence it possessed and its location. That’s how we know that our 6-foot, 2,000 pound piece of box steel comes from the outer layer on the North Tower between the 50th & 54th floor.

Amazing! Isn’t it?

By 2008, their analysis was complete and the N.Y./N.J. Port Authorities began to release the artifacts. They began by selling 175,000 tons of steel for reuse and to establish a memorial fund. They cut the 840 largest pieces into 2,200 chunks, similar to ours, to go along with other portions to make up the 2,600+ artifacts that now exist. They range in size from a 47,000 pound mass of twisted steel given to a foundation to raise money for first responders, to a handful of nails fused together given to a N.Y. Senator. WTC relics have been dispersed to 1,500+ entities throughout all 50 states and 10 foreign countries. And we are honored to be one of those recipients.

They now sit on our Main Street, along with a piece of limestone from the Pentagon and shale from the United Flight 93 crash site in western PA. It is our hope that our memorial will stand, not only as a reminder of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, but more importantly, as a symbol of the American resiliency that emerged in the aftermath.