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Dec 22, 2010 10:12 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Eastport South Manor School District Accepts Remnant Of September 11th Terrorist Attacks

Dec 22, 2010 10:12 AM

Following an hour-long car ride to Queens on December 16, G. Christopher Marzuck, the assistant superintendent for personnel at the Eastport South Manor School District, stood before an open airplane hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport that was filled with crushed steel, cars and bicycles—remnants of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City.

Mr. Marzuck and Jennifer Hart, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, drove behind a white flatbed truck being driven by district maintenance worker Chuck Dion into the airplane hangar to officially accept the donation of a 12-foot piece of steel. The twisted metal was retrieved from the smoldering remains of the Twin Towers, and kept in the hangar by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey since the attacks.

“It’s a huge building, typically used to store airplanes,” Mr. Marzuck said. “They probably have a hundred different types of artifacts—everything from a fire truck to police vehicles, and different ambulances and cars on the street.”

Mr. Dion carefully drove the beam back to Manorville, where it’s currently being stored in an undisclosed location. District officials declined to say where the beam was, fearing it would be stolen.

The district is planning to create a memorial from the recovered I-beam, and to unveil it during a future dedication ceremony. The district hasn’t picked a date for the unveiling yet, he said, but noted that a committee is currently being formed by Mr. Marzuck to decide how best to display the artifact, and convey its significance. “Some of the teachers will use it as a really good tool for discussion,” he said.

Mr. Marzuck spearheaded an effort to secure the I-beam, which will be displayed outside the art wing in front of the Junior-Senior High School. He said that he applied to the Port Authority to receive the beam about 14 months ago. The district’s request was one of a thousand from around the country, according to Mr. Marzuck.

He said he first had the idea to secure one of the artifacts after he read an article in The New York Times, announcing that the Port Authority was releasing the items.

When he arrived in Queens last week, he was moved by the enormity of the debris in the hangars, he said.

“It’s very, very emotional,” Mr. Marzuck said. “You look at these items that are steel, weighing tons, and they’re bent like pipe cleaners. If you think about what those pieces of steel look like, it just follows to think what the people went though that particular day. It’s emotionally intense.”

High School Principal Joseph Steimel said that although the beam will be placed in front of the Moriches-Middle Island Road school, administrators hope to allow access to the memorial to as many people in the community as possible, including elementary and high school students.

He noted that current high school students were young children when the attacks occurred in 2001.

“This year’s seniors were little kids,” Mr. Steimel said. “There’s a good chance they don’t really remember much about it.”

Superintendent of Schools Mark A. Nocero said administrators will meet after the winter break to discuss how to best involve the student body in setting up the memorial and to establish a timeline for the construction of the monument. Until then, the beam will be stored off-site, in a “safe place,” until the district makes a determination of when it will be displayed, according to the superintendent.

Mr. Nocero noted that the steel beam serves as an invaluable learning tool, spurring conversations about the terrorist attack, and its place in American history.

“I think that it’s important, number one, to pay homage to the people who lost their lives that day,” he said, “and the second part is it’s a history lesson for kids.”

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I do notbelieve that the school district should be using a piece of steel from September 11, 2001 for a memorial. What if that piece of steel is what killed your relative?? I dont think you would want it on public display.
By agawam38 (2), southampton on Dec 22, 10 1:43 PM
I agree I think this event has been over memorilized. Having walked down 90 flights of stairs that day I feel I have the right to say that. I mean no disrespect to anyone but I think it's time to move on. Its been 9 years already. I also don't believe that it is the place of school administrators to be involved in this issue. RIP all of my fellow employees who died that day.
By maxwell (169), speonk on Dec 23, 10 10:25 AM
1 member liked this comment