World Trade Center memorial planned at Southern Manatee

BRADENTON -- A 12- foot steel beam salvaged from the fallen World Trade Center twin towers in New York City will travel from New Jersey to Bradenton this week to become the centerpiece for a memorial sculpture to be located in the lobby of the Fire Administration Building of the Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue District. The metal was acquired under a program authorized by the Port Authority of New Jersey/New York.

Over the past year community members and volunteers of the Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue District met and designed a sculpture to remember those who gave their lives during the tragedies of September 11, 2001.

“This idea came from one of our firefighters. All of us remember the horrors of 9-11 and this sculpture has been designed to incorporate all of the elements of that tragic day. In a New Jersey field, at the Towers in New York City and the Pentagon, America lost many loved ones and this memorial ties all of those pieces together in one tribute. It will be permanently installed for all of our community to see,” stated Chief Foster Gover, Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue.

The memorial was designed by local architect Dallas Leitner and will be fabricated by Ellenton welder Bradly Ranney who will fashion the WTC's steel I-beam into a monument made of stone, steel and other materials measuring approximately 8-feet long and 4-feet deep x 7-feet high. The section of I-beam will be cut into two pieces of steel which will rise vertically from an auburn-colored, metal base. A granite backdrop will be inscribed with verbage describing the 9-11 tragedy and a metal silhouette of an airplane will be affixed to it. The Pentagon will be represented by an aluminum structure. All materials and labor have been donated for the memorial.

SMFRD Commissioner Brad Ranney and crew will depart from Manatee County around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 14, and travel to New Jersey to pick up the metal beam. Sections of the route may be escorted by local motorcycle groups and law enforcement agencies through notifications made by the SMFRD.

The completed monument is schedule to be dedicated on September 11, 2010.