9/11 Ground Zero I-beam coming to Port Angeles, will tour Clallam next week

PORT ANGELES — A rusty, 1,400-pound piece of the World Trade Center destroyed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, arrives in Clallam County this week.

The 9-foot-long I-beam from Ground Zero will become the centerpiece of a memorial to the victims of 9/11 next to an existing public safety monument at a Port Angeles park.

But before it’s placed — organizers hope to dedicate the memorial on the 10th anniversary of the attacks in less than two months — the I-beam will be driven around Clallam County next Tuesday so residents can see it firsthand.

Among the 2,753 victims who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center were 343 firefighters, 60 police officers and eight private emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

Alan Barnard, chairman of the Clallam County Public Safety Tribute Committee — which erected the Clallam County Public Safety Monument in Port Angeles’ Francis Street Park in 2002 — and Capt. Duke Moroz of the Port Angeles Fire Department are taking the I-beam on a poignant, 137-mile tour of Clallam County communities.

The July 26 schedule:

■ Sequim: Clallam Transit Building/City Council Chamber, 190 W. Cedar St., 9 a.m.-9:45 a.m.

■ Port Angeles: Vern Burton Center, 308 W. Fourth St., 10:25 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.

■ Clallam Bay: Clallam Bay County Park, state Highway 112 and Pioneer St., 12:43 p.m. to 1:13 p.m.

■ Neah Bay: Washburn’s General Merchandise Store, 1450 Bayview Ave., 2:05 p.m. to 2:35 p.m.

■ Forks: City Hall, 500 E. Division St., 3:37 p.m. to 4:07 p.m.

The I-beam is scheduled back in Port Angeles at 5:23 p.m., where it will be taken to Ruddell Auto Mall, 110 S. Golf Course Road, to be displayed for two days, July 27-28, Barnard said.

Ruddell Auto Mall owner Howie Ruddell is donating use of the flatbed truck that will carry the I-beam on its county tour.

The arrival of the 9/11 piece culminates months of effort that began with two Coast Guardsmen, Sam Allen and Andrew Moravec, who read in the Peninsula Daily News that some of the wreckage recovered from Ground Zero was available for display as memorials throughout the nation.

But the two men needed nonprofit sponsorship, and that’s where Barnard’s Public Safety Tribute Committee and the Port Angeles Fire Department Auxiliary came in.

The I-beam arrived in Seattle this week after it was transported by Roadrunner Transportation from the Port of New York, arranged via FreightCenter.com, Barnard said.

Now he and others are racing the clock to have the I-beam installed on a brass pedestal beside the public safety monument in Francis Street Park in time for dedication on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Port Angeles artist Bob Stokes built Barnard a scale model of the proposed 13-foot-tall monument for fundraising efforts, and graphic artist Laurel Black donated a printing design for marketing purposes.

“Many interested citizens coming together to say thank you to our public safety professionals through this moving reminder of what we all have experienced after 9/11,” Barnard said.

Details of the fundraising campaign are still being worked out, he added, but early donations can be sent to the Public Safety Tribute Committee, P.O. Box 845, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

Donations will also be taken along the tour route next Tuesday.

Barnard can be reached at 360-461-0175 for more information.

_________

Executive Editor Rex Wilson can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at rex.wilson@peninsuladailynews.com.

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