Dedication of World Trade Center I-beam part of Laurel's 9/11 commemoration

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Laurel officials have planned an evening of presentations that will provide information residents can use in the event of a catastrophe or terrorist attack.

On Sept. 8, Mayor Craig Moe, city officials and Laurel's emergency and first responders will be on hand at City Council chambers at the Laurel Municipal Center. Various local emergency units, including the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department and Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad, will have displays with information and equipment for residents to browse that could be used in the event of an emergency event.

"We'll have people from the city and county, and they'll also be asking for volunteers," said Martin Flemion, the city's deputy administrator.

In addition to the preparedness presentations and exhibits, a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, in New York, will be unveiled and dedicated to veterans and emergency first responders.

"The piece of steel is known as an I-beam; and it's 12 inches tall, 10 inches deep and 20 inches long," Flemion said. "We plan to have it placed in a case for the dedication ceremony on Sept. 8 and later put together a committee to decide how to put it in a permanent display."

The city received the I-beam five months ago from the New York/New Jersey Port Authority. Although much of the rubble from the center's twin towers was shipped out as salvage, more than 1,000 pieces of debris from the site was placed in a hangar at a New York airport for the port authority to decide how it would be disposed of. Flemion said a process was established by Port Authority officials for debris and material from the site to be used by cities for memorials.

"When I found out about it, I filed an application with them for an artifact. We had to explain what we planned to do with the steel and had to agree to be responsible for the steel," he said. "Once we were approved (by the authorities), we had to be approved by the New York Civil District Court for the transfer of ownership of the steel from the Port Authority to the city of Laurel."

According to Port Authority officials, more than 350,000 tons of steel and other debris from the World Trade Center is being used in small- and large-scale memorials nationwide. More than 225 memorials have been dedicated, and more are expected to be unveiled as the 9/11 date nears.

The memorial at the World Trade Center site will be dedicated on Sept. 11 and open to the public on Sept. 12.

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