Reporting Joel Thomas
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – A small group of people gathered in a section of the Fort Worth Museum of Nature and Science Wednesday in a brief memorial service in remembrance of the September 11 attacks. At the center of the observance was a towering, twisted, rusted steel beam that 12-years earlier was engulfed in smoke 101 stories in the air with terrified office workers behind the walls the girder supported.
“I want to take you back to that day, 9/11, a very personal moment for you,” Austin Roberts, chairman of the museum board, told the audience. “I want you to think of that moment when you recognized our country was under attack.”
Picking through the massive debris field at Ground Zero, investigators could only trace a few pieces of rubble to where they once stood on the tower. The beam in Fort Worth is one of those pieces. The three story, 8,000 pound beam supported floors 101, 102 and 103 in the North Tower. The airplane slammed into the building immediately below these beams.
The Fort Worth display adds scale to the images we’ve all seen.
“I thought it was crazy how that was all the way up there on the 102nd floor like a thousand feet up,” said 14-year-old Jackson Carter who was with the choir performing at the event. “It’s crazy it fell all that distance and is intact.”
Except for being cleaned of asbestos, the beams are exactly as they were at Ground Zero.
While on the side of the tower, the three columns that form the beam once stood neatly, side by side like boards in a picket fence. It is still hard to imagine the heat and crushing force that could tear and twist such huge pieces of steel into the towering mangled reminder of the September day of horror it is now. But at the display it is not difficult to remember how you felt when it happened.
“When I first walked in this morning it made me cry,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “It just touches you. It really brings back that defining moment. For those of us who were alive when kennedy was shot and this, those were a couple of defining moments. And it just gives you goose bumps.”
The display around the beam is still under construction and should be open to the public in October free of charge.
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