ARLINGTON — A steel beam from the World Trade Center recovered following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is on its way to Arlington.
Four Arlington firemen left town Sunday morning, drove across the country and arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport Tuesday morning just in
time for their appointment to pick it up.
The firefighters then got a tour of the site of the Sept. 11 attacks and the nearby downtown Manhattan fire station.
“This entire experience has been unreal,” said Dan Hargroves, one of the firefighters. “I had never been to New York before. We were blown away about how well we were treated by FDNY and everybody else. And it was hard to keep from getting choked up at ground zero.”
The firefighters are volunteering their time for the trip. The city is paying for food and gas.
The New York Fire Department hosted the men at the Fort Totten fire station and training grounds in Queens. There the Arlington firefighters showered and changed into their dress uniforms for the formal transfer of ownership of the steel beam at the airport’s Hangar 17. That’s where the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has stored pieces of the World Trade Center.
The men hope they can return to Arlington before noon on Saturday. An escort parade is planned.
City officials also hope the steel beam can be displayed by the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 for the dedication of the renovated Station 46 in downtown Arlington.
The 4,373-pound chunk of metal the firemen are towing home on a borrowed flatbed trailer is one of many being distributed free to fire departments across the country for use in memorials to honor the victims of the attacks, including the hundreds of firefighters who died.
“We plan to stop and sleep for awhile somewhere and we’re also going to stop at Mount Rushmore to photograph the steel out in front of the mountain,” Hargroves said. “People on the interstates have been great, yelling and waving hello.”
Other firefighters on the trip are Kirk Normand, Brian Price and Jason Abrahamson.
Those who want to donate to the construction of a monument to hold the 13-foot-long piece of history are asked to call the Arlington Fire Department at 360-403-3600.
You can watch the progress of delivery crew on their Facebook page, Arlington, WA Fire Dept 9-11 Memorial.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.