(Editor's Note: In the wake of news that U.S. special forces have killed Osama Bin Laden, Patch is re-posting this article, which ran on April 21, 2011.)
On Thursday afternoon, New Canaan accepted the gift of a grim reminder of the losses our town suffered when the World Trade Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Escorted by members of , an eight-foot-long, 1,412 pound twisted eye beam from the World Trade Center was delivered by flatbed truck to its temporary home at the fire station. It was a bright, clear day, much like the day nearly a decade ago that Joe Coppo, Eamon McEneany and Brad Fetchet.
“The steel was a gift to New Canaan's emergency services and will be stored at New Canaan fire headquarters until which time that Fire, Police Department and EMS can locate the proper location and mounting service to honor all those that were lost on that day,” New Canaan Fire Company No. 1 President Stephen Parrett said to Patch in an e-mail.
With firefighters in dress blues standing at attention, the flag-covered souvenir made its way down Main St. to the fire house. Earlier in the day, New Canaan firefighters had collected the relic from Hangar 17 at JFK Airport, where it had been stored since soon after the disaster. It will be kept at the fire house, available for public viewing, until a permanent display site is chosen, Asst. Fire Chief Jack Hennessey said.
Hennessey said the town applied for a piece of the World Trade Center about a year and a half ago. According to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesperson Sara Beth Joren, New Canaan is one of 900 municipalities that have so far collected mementoes from the site. Another 600 requests have been approved, and the Port Authority is trying to fulfill the orders before next September’s tenth anniversary of the attack.
Among those in attendance as New Canaan’s piece of history arrived was Susan Dahill, who said she had come on behalf of her friend, Mary Fetchet, founder of . Town administrator Tom Stadler was there, too. Stadler is the former commissioner of where he worked closely with Joe Coppo. Stadler rested his hand on the rusted metal.
When the American flag was removed, many of those who had come to witness the beam's arrival did the same. It was an instinctive move, Patch photographer Melinda Fager said. “You just had to touch it.”