The “Home of Heroes”, now holds a somber piece of our nation’s history.
The city of Pueblo received 500 pounds of structural steel from the World Trade Center Friday.
With flashing lights and heavy hearts, Pueblo law enforcement and first responders proudly escorted a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.
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The six foot long, 500 pound steel beam from “Ground Zero” received a patriotic and dignified welcome to its new home.
The steel from the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers on 9/11 was carried into the Center for American Values where it will stay on display through the end of February.
Many gathered for a special somber ceremony that was filled with pride and thanksgiving.
A prayer remembered those who lost their lives that fateful September day. And with hands over their hearts, all proudly said the Pledge of Allegiance, in honor of all those who put their lives on the line.
To local law enforcement leaders, this steel beams reminds them of those who risked their own lives to save thousands of others. It also urges them as law enforcement to stand up for the freedom that so many died for.
"It's united us as a nation, what happened. It’s united the fire service, rescue workers, and given us much more resolve and vigilance to prevent something like this from ever happening again,” said Pueblo Fire Chief Chris Riley.
Riley says this will serve as another memento to them as a reminder of the NYFD and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“On the side of our fire engines in the city of Pueblo, we have a sticker that says “Lest we never forget: 343”. And our explorer post is also explorer post 343, named in honor of the New York firefighters who lose their lives,” said Chief Riley. “So this represents another symbol to not forget the sacrifices that were made that day and the dedication of those that took part in an extremely dangerous rescue.”
Local law enforcement officers and first responders in attendance of the ceremony says this beam will constantly honor those who lives were lost, reminding everyone that they were not lost in vain.
Deputy Chief Troy Davenport of the Pueblo Police Department says that this steel beam means so much to the country because it’s affected an entire generation.
And says it’s a “stark reminder of what our (law enforcement) mandate is, protecting people”.
“It’s just an incredible gift to the city of Pueblo to have a piece of steel here from that fateful day as a reminder to be ever vigilant,” said Deputy Chief Davenport.
The Center for American Values says the steel is a gift from the New York Fire Department. NYFD firefighters made a trip to Pueblo in August of 2011 as part of a tenth anniversary commemoration of the September 11th attacks.
The firefighters were so touched by the patriotism of Pueblo and the Center, they helped arrange bringing a piece of the World Trade Center to Pueblo.
The piece of history will soon become the newest addition to Pueblo’s Walk of Valor on the Riverwalk and formally unveiled on May 18, 2012.
Scott Jones, Vice President of Development and Community Relations for the Center of American Values says this beam shows a significant relationship, born out of mutual respect, between Pueblo and the New York Fire Department. He says it honors what so many did that day in saving countless lives and the sacrifices made on behalf of the country.
“It’s far more than a piece of metal. It represents so much more to so many people,” said Jones.
For now, the steel remains available for the public to view inside the Center for American Values at 101 S. Main St. in Pueblo.
You can get an up-close look at the hallowed piece daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Thursday February 23. The Center will be closed on President’s Day.
The ceremony in May will include the FDNY honor Guard, Pueblo Medal of Honor recipient Drew Dix, and well-known actor and musician Gary Sinise. The ceremony will be followed by a free community concert of Gary Sinise’s band, Lt. Dan Band.