This afternoon, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) held a ceremony remembering the 9/11 terrorist attacks. At the center of the brief ceremony, which was held in front of the association’s Fairfax, Va.-based headquarters building, was the arrival of a piece of steel from the World Trade Center towers.
“The bravery of the 343 firefighters who died in the line-of-duty day – as well as those who they were trying to protect – will be honored by having this steel in a memorial at the IAFC headquarters,” said Mark Light, CEO and executive director of the IAFC. “Fire, rescue and emergency medical personnel from around the globe visit the IAFC; this will serve as a reminder of the sacrifice that responders make in serving their communities.”
The steel (WTC Artifact H-46A) was transported from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Virginia on a flatbed truck by the Schiavone Construction Corporation LLC, of Secaucus, N.J., who donated their services to transport the artifact to the association. Escorting the artifact was a Schiavone superintendent, a local 731 labor foreman and a local 282 teamster foreman.
Ten years ago, Schiavone was one of the early private responders to the terrorist attacks. Arriving 10 hours after the second tower collapsed, they brought heavy machinery, trucks, cutting torches and about 40 workers to assist fire and rescue units.
As the artifact made its way into the Washington metro area, it received a special escort from local fire departments. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service escorted the artifact from the county boarders on I-495 to the American Legion Bridge. At the bridge, the convoy was met by Fairfax County Fire & Rescue, who provided an escort to the IAFC, near the intersection of I-66 and Route 50.
A small group of responders from Fairfax County joined the IAFC staff for the ceremony, which honored both victims and responders from the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Shanksville sites.
The IAFC chose to keep the arrival of the artifact a simple affair in order to enable personal reflection, an environment they hope to preserve going forward.
“Thank you to each of you who have helped bring this artifact to the members of the IAFC and to our community in Fairfax,” said Mark Light, CEO and executive director of the IAFC. “While this day is special, it’s our hope that each day someone sees this artifact—whether it be one of our neighbors walking by or a responder visiting our offices—will be special in its ability to inspire reflection and instill courage and hope.”
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has distributed artifacts from the World Trade Center to fire department and community memorials throughout the country. Having submitted the original application nearly two years ago, the IAFC is honored and humbled to be receiving the artifact just days from the attack’s 10th Anniversary.
In his remark, Light thanked the men and women of the Port Authority for years of arduous work to ensure that these artifacts find final resting places in communities across the nation.