MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - There are new ways to remember the September 11th tragedy in Martin County. Several pieces of the wreckage from New York City’s World Trade Center towers will now find a permanent place on the Treasure Coast.
On Saturday in Jensen Beach, touching the mangled steel that once held up the World Trade Center towers brought back memories for Trisha Hazeltine, who now calls Martin County home. “In New Jersey where we lived, we could smell the smoke that day and it was a beautiful clear day,” she said.
Some of the same steel that crumbled at Ground Zero a decade ago was recently put on a flatbed truck and transported down Interstate 95 to South Florida. “40 feet of steel...that was mangled with bodies. We had to move this steel by hand to get to people,” said Al Hickey, a former New York Police detective who was on duty on September 11, 2001. “Always remember what happened on that day,” Hickey said.
The tattered pieces of American history are being moved to their new - and permanent - homes on the Treasure Coast. “To have something concrete here, something that they can look at, identify with and touch. It makes it real life for them,” said Kevin O’Connor, a former NYPD officer, who was a first responder on 9/11. O’Connor now resides in South Florida.
The five steel fragments are different sizes. Two pieces will come to rest in Palm City, two more in Port St. Lucie and one in Hobe Sound. “It gives us a place that we can come and sit and reflect and feel like we are with our brothers that we lost that day,” said Christopher McKnight, a former New York City firefighter who now lives in Jupiter.
The WTC fragments, the first responders and a number of military motorcycle clubs were escorted town to town by local and state law enforcement. The memorials are expected to be quite busy next weekend on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
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