9/11 steel column arrives in Palm Beach Gardens

By Lynn Gordon - email

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX) - Hundreds of spectators turned out Monday to witness the steel column arrive. The massive piece of metal not only a piece of the World Trade Center, but it's also a piece of history. For most people, the event brought back memories of 9/11.

It was a procession led by dozens of fire trucks, police cars and hundreds of motorcycles. A massive piece of steel from the South Tower of the World Trade Center arrives on a flatbed truck in front of Palm Beach Gardens Fire Station Number 3 at 11 a.m.

The 32-foot section of beam, draped in American flag banners, made its way from Stuart to Palm Beach Gardens.

The journey began a week ago when three local firefighters and two police officers arrived in New York City to escort the piece of history back to Florida.

Those who turned out took pictures and touched the ten ton column. The event brought back memories of 9/11. "I remember where I was. I had to pull over," said one spectator.

It was especially emotional for John Gill who lost his son, Paul, in 9/11. The New York City firefighter was in the Marriott hotel next to the Twin Towers when they collapsed. "We lost him, never recovered his remains. So having the monument here, we have a place to go."

Officials also broke ground at the spot where the steel will be displayed. A dedication ceremony followed.

James Ippolito with Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue escorted the beam from New York last week and again Monday. "It was touching. All these motorcycles makes you want to cry. [It's] just an honor to be a part of something of this magnitude. It's heartfelt; it'll never be forgotten. It should never be forgotten."

One couple, so touched by the plans for the memorial, they're donating nearly $100,000 worth of labor and supplies to make it happen. "Everybody jumped onboard. As soon as I started calling, there was not even a blink of an eye," said Gary Galiano, who donated concrete.

The months of hard work paid off. This beam used to be part of the 12th floor of the World Trade Center North Tower. They hope to have the memorial ready for this year's 9/11 anniversary in a few months.

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