9/11 Memorial in Gilbert now home to World Trade Center beam [Photos]

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

GILBERT, Ariz. – An 8-foot beam that was part of the World Trade Center is now a permanent part of the Gilbert 9/11 Memorial in front of Town Hall.

Gilbert is one of only a few municipalities in Arizona to receive an artifact from the World Trade Center in the wake of the 2001 terror attack, and it is the only one to make its beam the heart of a permanent memorial.

A crane gently swung the 1,500-pound steel beam into position, allowing workers to bolt it into place atop a stone pedestal shortly after 9 a.m. Monday. Mayor John Lewis, Councilman John Sentz, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Jobusch and Police Chief Tim Dorn were among those who helped tighten the bolts as the beam was placed on the memorial. A short flag presentation by the police and fire honor guard followed.

“There’s been a lot of hard work to actually make this happen,” said Jean Machmicki, co-chair of the 9/11 committee. “We received the beam about four months ago. The community outpouring to help us raise the funds necessary to build the memorial has just been overwhelming. We’re all really exciting to see it done in a week and a half.”

Money for the memorial was generated by public donations. In addition to making general donations, the public was permitted to purchase memorial bricks pavers. In addition, they could sponsor trees of life or one of four benches, one representing each flight. Those pavers, trees and the four benches will all be incorporated in the pentagon-shaped memorial with the beam as its centerpiece.

The design is such that people, even small children, can actually touch the beam.

While the beam is up and available for viewing, the memorial will be complete formally opened in a public ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks that killed 3,000 people and changed our lives forever.

A week of tribute events leading up to the anniversary will kick off on Sunday, Sept. 4 with a candlelight vigil at the newly completed memorial.

For more information, visit www.gilbertaz.gov/911Memorial