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Tinley Park to get steel beam from World Trade Center

Updated: August 31, 2011 11:54PM



A piece of American history — a steel beam from the World Trade Center — is coming to Tinley Park.

The village is getting a 6-foot-long beam that weighs 1,008 pounds from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Fire Chief Ken Dunn said. Several Tinley Park firefighters will travel to New York to get the beam next week, he said.

It’s hoped that the beam will be in Tinley Park in time for the village’s Patriot Day activities on Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, Dunn said.

“Eventually we’ll get to a memorial. We’re trying to put a committee together to determine how we present it and where it will stay and all of those things. As important as getting it here is making sure it’s done properly,” Dunn said.

Zabrocki Plaza, in downtown Tinley Park, would be a logical site, Dunn said, “because this is not just for firemen. This is for police and FEMA and public works and dispatchers,” Dunn said.

Trustee Greg Hannon would like to see the beam on the west side of town, near the 80th Avenue Metra train station.

“The library is over there and we have Memorial Drive, which we’d like to have memorials for various wars. Even though the Twin Towers were not a war like World War II, World War I or Vietnam, it was an attack on our country that led us into a war,” Hannon said.

Hannon envisions the beam being part of a respectful memorial.

“I’m not looking at this as a piece of metal, but a solemn memorial to an attack on the United States, like the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor,” Hannon said.

He said one can “hear a pin drop” when previously chatty tourists arrive at the Arizona.

“People stop talking. It’s very quiet. That’s how I view what we can do in Tinley Park with a piece of 9/11,” Hannon said.

Dunn said there’s a cannon from World War II “in the park off 171st Street that has been there since I was a kid.”

“This is another piece of history,” he said of the beam.

Bill Proper, who works in public education for the fire department, came up with the idea of acquiring a beam from the World Trade Center, Dunn said. Proper has been working on the project for six months, Dunn said.

The village will not be charged for the beam but is responsible for transporting it to Tinley Park, Dunn said.



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