World Trade Center beam displayed in eastern Plano

Brittany Feagans  Plano Star Courier

More than 1,500 miles separate Plano from Manhattan, but a 6,600-pound relic will connect the City of Excellence with Ground Zero and the memories of 9/11.

Stationed outside a house that belongs to the Plano Firefighters Association at 1506 Municipal Ave., the large chunk of steel and concrete serves as a solemn reminder of the tragic day in American history and the sacrifice of first responders who lost their lives. Given to the Plano Firefighters Association by the New York Port Authority in 2011, Plano Fire-Rescue firefighter/paramedic James Harris was one of the men who drove up to New York and hauled the World Trade Center piece back to Plano.

But it wasn’t until recently that the debris was displayed in public view.

In 2011, the Plano Firefighters Association acquired a large piece of World Trade Center rubble from the New York Port Authority.  Brittany Feagans photo

In 2011, the Plano Firefighters Association acquired a large piece of World Trade Center rubble from the New York Port Authority.  Brittany Feagans photo

“We had it on a trailer and were taking it to schools and functions, but when we remodeled our meeting hall, it was decided to make it a permanent memorial,” said Harris, previously secretary and treasurer of the Plano Firefighters Association. “We feel like it belongs to everyone and have wired the patio to have constant lighting – that way anyone can visit on their own terms.”

 

Over the past month, several curious residents have taken to social media inquiring about the rubble. Wesley Holland, vice president of media and communications for the Plano Firefighters Association, said plans for a commemorative plaque are in the works.

“The part we haven’t gotten finished yet is the literature or wording out front,” Holland said. “It’s not what we call its final resting place, but it’s a resting place for it right now.”

Holland said the association had the choice of several pieces of varying sizes, with the size they chose being the largest. It’s unknown from which tower the piece came.

“It’s so big that the trailer it sat on was starting to break down,” he said. “We were finally able to get it in the spot where it’s at.”

But without a sign explaining where the rubble originated, Holland said several people – including city staff members who work across the street at the Plano Municipal Center – have been mystified by the enormous piece of beam.

In an effort to explain the piece to the public, Holland posted a video to the Plano Firefighters Association’s Facebook page as the nonprofit raises funds for an informative sign.

“It’s pretty crazy to sit there and look at it and see the sheer size of the beams and the construction to see how big those towers were,” he said.

Plano is one of at least four cities in the Metroplex, including Mesquite, to acquire a piece of the World Trade Center.

“It allows people to relate to what happened,” Holland said. “We know that there’s going to be a continued change in the culture and generations that are going to be raised that didn’t physically see or live when it happened.

“We wanted to bring it back to the citizens here in Plano to reflect and physically see and touch and feel the steel and the concrete that did make up the World Trade Center. That way, they can actually relate to what went on on that tragic date.”

While a few residents, including Brenda Parker Dunbar, have paused when driving by the memorial, Holland said he hopes that once awareness heightens, more people will stop by.

Others, like Kenny Bush, expressed awe in seeing “the realness of 9/11” in Plano.

“When you see the size of the beams that made up that World Trade Center, it’s pretty humbling to see that those towers that stood 110 stories in the air fell to the ground,” Holland said. “We want people to come, not just on September 11, but any time, to reflect and think about that day.”

Please visit this link to watch a video about the piece of World Trade Center acquired by the Plano Firefighters Association.

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