BOSSIER CITY, LA. (KTBS) – A grim piece of American history now calls Bossier City home.
A beam from one of the World Trade Center Twin Towers arrived Tuesday to become a permanent part of the city’s Liberty Garden. And it all started with a citizen who wanted to make sure we remember the lives lost during the 9/11 attacks. “They have a memorial in Indianapolis and when I went to it in 2011, it really moved me, the remembrance of the people who lost their lives in 9/11,” recalled Tom Lawson, owner of Advanced Air Conditioning and President of “Keep Bossier Beautiful.”
“My son did the research to find out who to send the letters to. And then Mayor Walker sent the letters to the Port Authority,” Lawson said. But initially, he was told by the Port Authority that there were no more 9/11 artifacts available to be sent anywhere. Then one day all of that changed.
“It was Friday the 13th in February 2014, and I got the email from the World Trade Center saying that hey, we got your piece ready,” he said.
The 16-foot beam traveled by trailer from New York to arrive at the parking lot of the Municipal Complex in Bossier City on Tuesday. It was led by a processional of fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles, and welcomed with a ceremony that included a host of local officials and dignitaries.
“[The beam] will become a permanent part of our recognition forever so that we do not forget what happened on 9/11,” said Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker.
“My goal is that you’ll understand and recognize the sacrifices of law enforcement, police, fire, public service make every single day, not just on 9/11,” added Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington.
“It’s awesome,” said Chief Thomas Arnold, of Cullen Fire District 6 in Springhill, “especially with these new juniors coming up in the fire ranks and they can see it everyday and they can look back at history.”
One of the fire engines in the processional leading the artifact belongs to Arnold’s fleet of trucks. Named “Colonia”, the engine originally belonged to a fleet from a fire station in New Jersey, and responded to ground zero on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Me and all my employees watched the second plane hit the tower,” recalled Lawson. “When I walked up to the metal and I felt that energy and felt that day back, living that day again.”
The project to get secure ownership of the beam, get it to Bossier City, and construct the monument is all being paid for through private dollars.
Part of that funding is coming from Calumet Specialty Products. “This is a one-of-a-kind piece of American history and we were very lucky to get it,” says Charles Cost, with Calumet.
The beam will be permanently erected in the Liberty Garden between the Bossier Police and Fire Departments at their Municipal Complex on Benton Road.