A piece of history has made its way to Bossier City, where it will now become a permanent part of the local landscape.
A 16-foot steel beam from the World Trade Center towers, recovered from Ground Zero in New York City following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, arrived in Bossier last week. It will be on permanent display at the Liberty Garden, located between the Bossier City Fire and Police Departments, in memory of those whose lives were lost that tragic day in 2001.
Efforts to acquire the 9/11 artifact began nearly four years ago when local businessman and Keep Bossier Beautiful President Tom Lawson was in Indiana and saw “Project Indianapolis,” a memorial comprised of twisted pieces of metal from the Twin Towers.
“It moved me. I felt the energy when I walked up to those beams,” Lawson said. “It brought me back to that day. Everybody I know remembers that day and what they were doing. I felt we needed it for our 9/11 memorial in Bossier City. It will be a most appropriate addition.”
South Bossier resident Carol Estrada remembers the events of 9/11 so vividly.
“My husband was still at home and my sister called me. She said to turn on the television because we were under siege,” she recalled. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
Seeing the beam brought back the images of that day. With tears in her eyes, Estrada reflected on the sacrifice members of the military and civil servants have made.
“This is so touching for someone who wasn’t even in the service,” she said. “My husband, brother, dad and uncle were all in the service. I was never in the service, but I’m more patriotic than most people.”
Estrada encourages the public to go see the beam, noting its significance in American history.
“This is America,” she said. “Those of us who were born here, show some patriotism, love and pride for your country. Come see it.”
Lawson and his son, Scott, worked with the Bossier City Mayor’s Office and Keep Bossier Beautiful to put the wheels in motion to secure the beam. Word came on Feb. 13, 2015 that the beam would be coming to Bossier.
“Four years is a long time when you’re waiting on something,” Lawson said. “It has taken a while for it to finally get here.
Lawson said the most important thing is to remember the people who lost their lives and what was ultimately taken from America that day.
Plans have not been made as to how the beam will be mounted or displayed in Liberty Garden. For now, the beam has been placed in a secured, covered location until it can be put out for permanent public display in the coming weeks.
Lawson added that no public funds will be used to place the monument. Instead, funds were donated by Calumet for the memorial.
Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker commended Lawson and the Keep Bossier Beautiful team for discovering this opportunity and their persistence to making it happen.
“We are very fortunate to have this special beam to add to our Liberty Garden,” Walker said. “It will serve to help us never forget the terrorist attack on our soil and the significance it has had on all of our lives. We have construction plans to install it with all of the dignity and honor that it deserves. Its presence will make our annual Patriots Day Celebration all the more memorable.”