COATESVILLE (September 11, 2020) – Standing before the iconic steel columns recovered from Ground Zero at the World Trade Center, state Senator Andy Dinniman and state Representative Dan Williams called for remembrance and unity on the 19th Anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
“Remembrance equals hope,” Dinniman said. “As individuals, when we remember the fallen, their lives become part of our lives. As a nation, when we remember September 11, we remember what it means to be united and what it means to be Americans. Today, we seem to have forgotten that. We need this reminder and we need to remember.”
“Today, I participated in a ceremony commemorating the 19th anniversary of 9/11 at the National Iron & Steel Museum in Coatesville. Coatesville has a special tie to the World Trade Center. The WTC’s steel trees that provided the structure for those magnificent towers were made here,” Williams said. “As horrible as the events of 9/11 were, they fostered a bond in all of us – a unity in each community and across the country. 19 years later, we struggle to find a unified voice against COVID and many issues affecting our daily lives. The lasting message of 9/11 should be this: United, we can defeat any enemy, achieve any goal. I pray we can soon move beyond partisan bickering and come together to build a better future for all.”
Dinniman and Williams offered their powerful remarks at the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum’s annual September 11 Commemoration Event. They were joined by other officials including Jim Ziegler, the museum’s Executive Director, and the Chester County Commissioners in remembering the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum offers a unique and poignant backdrop to remember and reflect on the pivotal events of September 11 and its aftermath. It is home to a collection of 28 pieces of steel from Ground Zero – the largest known in existence – that it plans to incorporate into and display as part of a major expansion project. The steel was fabricated at Lukens in Coatesville in 1968-69 and used in the construction of the World Trade Center in 1969-70.
The centerpiece of this collection is the multiple steel columns or “trees” recovered from Ground Zero at the World Trade Center. Since the beams had to be able to support incredible loads, Lukens was selected for the project due to its workers’ expertise in producing small-batch specialty steels.
One-hundred and fifty-two trees (also known as “tridents” or “forks”) were made from 304 steel plates at Lukens to frame and support the lobbies and first nine floors of both the North and South Towers. The buildings were completed in 1971 and stood 110 stories tall until September 11, 2001.
In the wake of the horrific 9/11 attacks, the “trees” became an iconic symbol of American strength and resilience standing amidst the charred wreckage of Ground Zero. Through the work of the Graystone Society, the museum managed to obtain its collection of World Trade Center steel, including 10 of the monumental 50-ton trees. The steel was donated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and transported to Coatesville aboard more than two-dozen flatbed trucks in 2010.
Today, one of the trees is on display outside the 120” rolling mill, a historic building that the museum has acquired and plans to use to house and display large-scale museum exhibits. The museum plans for the additional tridents to be re-erected on the museum’s grounds in the exact formation as they stood at the World Trade Center.