Officials: World Trade Center beams need ‘resting place’ - INSIDENOVA.COM: Politics

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Officials: World Trade Center beams need ‘resting place’

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Posted: Saturday, May 25, 2013 10:15 am

It’s been more than two years since four steel beams, recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, were ceremoniously delivered to Prince William County for a planned addition to Freedom Park, the memorial dedicated to war veterans and those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The vision was to incorporate the beams into the McCoart building memorial, which honors the 22 Prince William County residents killed on 9/11 with a reflecting pool shaped like the Pentagon, two fountains representing the twin towers and a Pennsylvania flagstone to honor those killed on Flight 93.

Members of the Board of County Supervisors asked residents for plans and suggestions for the expanded memorial. Board Chairman Corey Stewart, who traveled to New York with a team of county officials to select Prince William’s 9/11 artifacts back in 2011, had said he wanted the 22-foot beams to be placed so they’d be visible from Prince William Parkway.

But those grand plans crashed sidelong into the reality of two tight budget years, and the beams have remained “in storage,” which really means they’ve been lying very unceremoniously under a tarp on the grounds of the Prince William Public Safety Academy.

That has to change – and soon, said Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, R-Potomac, who has begun pushing her fellow supervisors to do something with the beams prior to the next anniversary of 9/11, even if they can’t afford a fancy new addition to the memorial.

To leave the beams where they are much longer is simply too “disrespectful,” Caddigan said.

“We’ve just procrastinated for too long,” Caddigan said. “We need to get them out and get them up.”

Supervisors took the first step toward moving forward with the memorial recently when they approved a motion to spend $200,000 in county contingency funds to pay to clean up and treat the beams to withstand outdoor elements.

The vote was not on the agenda but was approved unanimously – with Stewart, R-At Large, and Supervisor Pete Candland, R- Gainesville, absent.

Supervisor Marty Nohe, R-Coles, said he supports spending the money to clean up and protect the beams but noted that funds for an addition to the memorial should come from private donations.

“I think this is something that needs to be an ongoing community effort,” he said.

Caddigan noted that she had recently received an encouraging letter from Jonathan Zarkauskas, president of the Prince William County Chapter of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association, offering to help get the beams off the training area and on display.

“At their current location (Prince William Public Safety Academy grounds), police officers and firefighters have had to conduct training exercises while these memorials lay disrespectfully under a tarp adjacent to training areas for all to see,” Zarkauskas wrote.

“Members of the Prince William County chapter and other civic associations in the county would proudly volunteer their services to find these memorials a more fitting resting place.”

Caddigan, a native of New Jersey who traveled to New York with Stewart and other county officials to select the beams from several items being preserved by the Port Authority, said she regrets the beams have been in storage for so long, especially since former county Supervisor John Stirrup worked hard to make sure Prince William was one of a limited number of localities to claim an artifact from the World Trade Center towers.

One Prince William County resident, volunteer firefighter Jeff Simpson, was killed in the World Trade Center attack. Simpson just happened to be in New York on 9/11 and responded to the call for help. According to news reports, he was seen helping evacuate people from the buildings, and his body was found in the wreckage.

Caddigan said the letter proved that county citizens, especially members of the public safety community, would likely be willing to help with the memorial once they find out the county is moving forward with getting the beams erected in Freedom Plaza.

“This is part of our history and this is a way that we will never forget what happened,” Caddigan said. “The beams are not pretty, but neither was September 11.”

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  • tomb posted at 10:06 pm on Thu, Sep 12, 2013.

    tomb Posts: 177

    Shows $$$$ is no problem when a Republican needs to show of and spend it.

  • Debbie T posted at 12:29 am on Mon, May 27, 2013.

    Debbie T Posts: 3

    WHY ON EARTH CAN'T SOME COMPANY OFFER TO CLEAN THOSE PRECIOUS BEAMS FOR FREE!!! and WHY? does it cost 200,000 dollars to do it anyway.
    Someone needs to plea to county companies and get funds for the completion of this project. Someone needs to obtain better contracted price quotes for the job.. considering the history of these beams why wouldn't companies be willing to take a hit on their profit and do this work at or below projected costs. Just sad!

  • tomb posted at 2:49 pm on Sun, May 26, 2013.

    tomb Posts: 177

    That trip by the PWC "delegation" was just a publicity stunt and a way to spend taxpayer money. Like someone who has to go to a funeral of a distant relative he/she didn't care about -- a show off.

    Two years later, and it's basically all but forgotten by the county idiots. How much did this junket cost us taxpayers? Tell us Corey old boy and big mouth Caddigan..

  • George S Harris posted at 1:46 pm on Sun, May 26, 2013.

    George S Harris Posts: 24

    I am still trying to figure out how we decided we needed beams from the World Trade Center. It was never put to a plebiscite, it was decided by a few people and so, with little or no forethought, Prince William County now has beams from the WTC resting at the Prince William Safety Academy. If we were going to have some remembrance of 9/11, why didn't we ask for something from the Pentagon? It is in our "neighborhood", there were folks from this county that were killed and injured there. Tragically one person from the county was lost at the World Trade Center disaster but... . I don't mean to minimize that family's loss but let's put things in perspective. Paul Miller's idea comes close to a solution, much like that of the Navy that used some of the World Trade Center steel to build the U.S.S. NEW YORK (LPD-21) and whose twin towers serve as a reminder of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Before we spend one more cent on these beams, the citizens of Prince William County should demand that the Board of County Supervisors present a cogent, well thought out and financed plan for these beams.

  • Paul Miller posted at 8:29 am on Sun, May 26, 2013.

    Paul Miller Posts: 354

    I'm guessing mine is a minority opinion, but the beams are just beams. They don't need a resting place. I'm not saying we should forget the event that dislodged those pieces of metal from the structure they were supporting, but this desire to memorialize a building (rather than the people who died that day), as well as the supervisors' desire to 'me too' the structural loss with that bizarre trip to NY to grab debris, strikes me as a little bizarre. Maybe it even touches on idolatry.

    I don't think we should have expended the fuel required to move the debris. But now that we have, maybe we should use the beams in a more utilitarian way, like part of some bridge repair or something like that. We could even put up a plaque that says 'this bridge rebuilt with beams from the World Trade Center,' etc., so the boondogglers who brought them down will at least save some face.

  • HR1487 posted at 2:55 pm on Sat, May 25, 2013.

    HR1487 Posts: 19

    Let it be made perfectly clear: When it comes to developement its "build first, figure it out second." When it comes to quality of life and honoring those who deserve to be honored red tape abounds.

    I can't remember when the beams got here. If that info is available can we check to see how many houses, townhomes, apartment complexes, condos, and shopping centers were built? Impressive how fast those things are handled....