On the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the city of Sarasota will dedicate a 2,550-pound steel beam in front of the Sarasota Police Department. That beam once was part of the structural support of the World Trade Center.
The 14-foot long piece, which twists to a jagged point on one end, has been mounted on a pedestal at an angle in front of the police headquarters at 2099 Adams Lane. Just before 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11, the city will begin its ceremony to honor the hundreds of first responders who lost their lives helping to evacuate more than 20,000 people from the twin towers before the structures collapsed.
The beam will become a memorial to the 2,606 people who died in New York City on Sept. 11, including 403 first responders — 343 firefighters and 60 police officers — as well as 371 civilian, military and emergency services personnel who died at the Pentagon, in a field in rural Shanksville, Pa., and aboard the four airliners the Saudi Arabian-born, al Qaeda-trained terrorists flew that day.
Sarasota Police Capt. Paul Sutton, the department’s public information officer, says the beam is being placed at an angle on purpose.
“We want everyone who walks by the beam or into the police station to see the monument and realize the steel beam is falling — just like it did 10 years ago,” Sutton said. “We will never forget what happened that day.”
The rusted artifact, which will face Payne Park from the police department’s southeast corner, has been sprayed with a clear coat to preserve its natural state and to prevent corrosion and damage to two plaques that will be mounted on it.
Mayor Suzanne Atwell and Police Chief Mikel Hollaway will address the attendees while they dedicate the beam. Then a moment of silence will be observed at 8:45 a.m., the time of day the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center.
During the ceremony, the city also will dedicate a new memorial to Officer Warren Jones, the only city of Sarasota police officer to die in the line of duty. A memorial for Jones was previously located at the old police station.
The free event is open to the public. People are encouraged to park for free, as well, in the county parking garage off School Avenue.
The police department building’s architect, Ian Reeves of the Architects Design Group of Winter Park; structural engineer Tommy Haygood of PRC Worldwide; and Carl Petrat, chief executive officer of Trident Building Systems of Sarasota, donated their services for the installation of the World Trade Center beam.
Numerous communities around the country applied for and received pieces of the towers’ superstructure after the National Institute of Standards and Technology completed a four-year investigation of how the airline crashes caused the buildings to collapse. The city of Sarasota will not be alone in dedicating a monument with such an artifact on Sept. 11.