CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- A steel I-beam pulled from the wreckage of the 9-11 attacks will begin its journey here July 3 from Manhattan, New York.
A New York City Fire Department chaplain will bless the beam that day, and 100 New York City firefighters will accompany the 11-foot-long beam on its trip, escorted by one of the city's fire trucks. The department is presenting the beam to the Marine Corps Base and II Marine Expeditionary Force commanding generals during a ceremony scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. during the July 4th celebration at W.P.T. Hill Field.
"The New York City Fire Department wanted to do something for the efforts put forth by all of the services during the Global War on Terrorism. This is a small token of our appreciation and support," said Patrick Concannon, president, Fire Family Transport Foundation.
The fire department is also presenting a leather helmet for support provided to the FDNY in the events that followed Sept. 11, 2001, and the all Marines' efforts in the war on terrorism. All firefighters wear this type of helmet as protection when engaging fires.
Marines, sailors, civilians and North Carolina residents collected funds to donate to the Fire Family Transport Foundation, located in New York and established in 1993. The foundation donates vehicles to transport family members for visits to injured firefighters.
Officials have not identified a location for the steel beam, but plan for it to be a permanent fixture on display in the Jacksonville/Camp Lejeune area.
During the firefighters' visit they will also receive an orientation to the Marine Corps, view a weapons-firing demonstration, fire mock weapons at an indoor simulated marksmanship trainer, and visit the Beirut Memorial.