Beam Set for Erie 9-11 Memorial - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Beam Set for Erie 9-11 Memorial

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Making a lasting memorial in Erie to the 9-11 terror attacks, has been a mission for former city councilman Mark Aleksandrowicz ever since he retrieved a beam from the World Trade Center rubble.

On September 11th, the twelfth anniversary of the tragedy his vision was fulfilled. A crane lifted that piece of history and gently placed it in a permanent home in front of the Blasco Library.

One by one, key supporters who have given time, money and services to the project were invited to tighten a bolt, in what now stands as a lasting lesson about the tragic events.

Two of those in the crowd, were volunteers at the disaster site.  Former Red Cross worker Laura Grappy suffers a chronic lung disease that has claimed the lives of many ground zero workers.  Still she was touched to see the column erected. "It makes me still feel connected to the work that was done, and it's a place of honor,"  said Grappy.

Michael Day, a former New York City Fire Department EMS worker lives in Erie now.  On the day of the attacks he had the difficult job of counseling fire department family members looking for their loved ones.  He is pleased to see over two years of effort bring the beam into public view in Erie County.  "It's monumental," said Day, "because I remember seeing the debris being taken away from the World Trade Center, so to see this brought to Erie and put on a pedestal for all to see it's just incredible."

For Mark Aleksandrowicz it brings history to a level that can be touched, so future generations will learn and remember what happened.  "It's important, because this is something that can be seen and touched and felt, rather than reading about it in a book or watching it on a TV program."

Erie County Library Executive Director Mary Rennie said the library is all about people and placing the beam there is most appropriate.  "There is no more poignant connection that we will make with one another than what you see here with this beam and what it represents and the recognition of all the innocent lives lost on September 11, 2001.  I'm very pleased that we were able to locate that here," said Rennie.

Lighting, landscaping and an informational panel will be added to complete the memorial.

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