It’s only fitting that a town named after a hardy tree would be home to a twisted piece of steel that withstood so much.
Nestled off Galloway Avenue, lies a 15-foot long, 575-pound beam atop three-pronged spears. “It’s a piece of history you can touch,” said Army Veteran and Deputy City Manager Jerry Dittman. “It’s already been tested by fire. It is the way it came, so it’s rusty. It’s beat up. It’s twisted.”
The jagged metal was pulled from the rubble of one of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. A decade later, firefighters made the 1,500 mile trek across the country to bring the piece of history back to Mesquite.
“We decided that we wanted to put it on the other side of the Arts Center in a place called Freedom Park,” said Dittman. “This is history. We want people to touch it. We want people to learn.”
Savannah Murr wasn’t born on that fateful day. In fact, her mom was pregnant with her when the planes flew into the towers. Despite learning about the events in history books, the 15-year-old understood the impact of 9/11.
Murr was the winner of an art contest sponsored by Mesquite Independent School District. Her illustrations were used in a book. Murr’s drawings chronicle the character named “Steel Beamer,” who starts as a beam, comes to life, and is put into one of the skyscrapers. It then follows “Steel Beamer” as the towers collapse and then when the character is moved to Mesquite.
“I got the sketches done in maybe a week or two. I colored them the next week,” said Murr. “My favorite drawing is of ‘Steel Beamer’ sitting in [Freedom Park] and feeding the birds.”
Mesquite is one of about a dozen cities in Texas to have an artifact from the World Trade Center.
Freedom Park was dedicated in 2016.
“It should move you if you come here,” said Dittman.