WELLINGTON, Fla. — Steel remnants of New York City's original World Trade Centers are scattered throughout South Florida and serve as centers of healing.
South Florida's World Trade Center Memorials
9/11 Memorial Plaza
"These bolts are welded on at this point from the tremendous heat," said James N. Ippolito, Deputy Fire Chief for Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue as he took WPTV NewsChannel 5 on a tour of the 9/11 Memorial Plaza.
These memorials are important places of remembrance for the red, the blue, and a nation.
"For some people, it's a piece of history. For others, it's a memorial, where you can come by and have some time is of some sort, reflect, and for others, it's a cemetery for those who lost family members that were never recovered as a place to come by and to truly have a piece of that building in that time and that location right here in Palm Beach Gardens," said Ippolito.
A jagged 10-ton piece of the South tower stands in front of fire station number 3 on Northlake Blvd.
"Every year around 9/11 We have a lot of people that come by and visit you'll see people place photos and flowers rosary beads," Ippolito said.
The memorial's footprint is a Maltese cross which is the honorary symbol of the fire department."
Panes of glass memorialize everyone who died that day with special markers for first responders, police, and firefighters who were fallen.
"There's not a day that goes by that we don't think of the 343 firefighters that lost their lives that day doing what they do: risking their lives to save others," said Ippolito.
The Deputy Fire recalls watching TV news, live from ground zero, and in the background, he heard an ominous eerie sound, "...and all you could hear was just as deafening sound of these devices."
Firefighter's motion sensors detecting a problem, "Unmistakable sound and you knew that was just hundreds of firefighters trapped..." Buried under the rubble, "...they didn't know where they were, how to get them but you knew they were there, you knew they needed help."
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Event Center
In Port St. Lucie, an 11-foot girder beam from the World Trade Center is on display in a town with strong ties to the New York Mets.
"That day, 20 years ago now, is bigger than New York and we're just fortunate enough to have that here, where our residents can go and, and reflect and ponder on some of the feelings that they’ve had," said Sgt. Keith Boham the public information officer of Port St. Lucie's Police Department.
It's a place to honor fallen officers. "You know, as first responders, we do have a connection with our brothers and sisters in New York who not only, you know perished that day but continued," Boham paused to hold back his emotions, but then continued, "[They] continued working long hours, and through all kinds of stress and just, you know, very, very tough, tough conditions, so..."
In the Village of Wellington, there is the Patriot Memorial. The steel, also from the South Tower. It's a bit more crumpled as it was seven floors below the impact zone of United, flight 175. This memorial has a fountain with an Eternal Flame.
"The Eternal Flame is one of those things that I think signifies the continuing remembrance of everything that happened and those that, that gave their lives," said Jim Barnes the Village Manager of Wellington
Barnes said one of the reasons the memorial is here is to help young students understand the events of 9/11 and to help them never forget.
"And to have a piece of it here available that you can look reach out and touch... ...for somebody who may not have even been born. At that time, it makes it real and makes it more understandable," said Barnes.
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