From the Collection: Symbols Forged From WTC Steel

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World Trade Center symbol steel beam. Photo: Amy Dreher.

Ground zero was not just another construction site, it was sacred ground. The steel beams in the debris pile and other remnants of the collapsed Twin Towers took on a special significance. During their down time, some recovery workers created symbols and shapes out of the fragments of steel, including crosses and Stars of David. These pieces were donated and are on display in the 9/11 Memorial Museum.Steel Maltese-style cross, gift of Luis Mendes. Photo: Matt Flynn.

For some, it was important to keep a physical reminder of the historical event. “I wanted to be able to fabricate a tangible reminder . . .for years to come, you’re gonna see it, and you’re gonna remember ‘This came from the Trade Center,’” said Local 79 Ironworker Rafe Greco.

Workers struggled to come to terms with the horrific events, many aware that families were counting on them to help recover remains of their loved ones.

 “What I had done for the families, me and my crew, when we had a little slack time we would cut out some crosses . . . and when they came down, we would give those crosses to the families. And they loved it, they really appreciated it. And it made us feel good,” said Ironworker William Quinlan.

By Jenny Pachucki, 9/11 Memorial Content Strategist 

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