Interpreting the Last Column: In this series, 9/11 Memorial & Museum exhibitions staff share the stories behind the markings and tributes placed on the Last Column. The Last Column was the final piece of steel to be removed from the World Trade Center site marking the completion of the nine-month recovery period. A symbol of resilience and marker of loss, it now stands in the Museum’s Foundation Hall bearing its memorial tributes. If you signed or left a tribute on the column and would like to share your story, please write to email@example.com.
On 9/11, woodworkers from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 608 responded to the World Trade Center to participate in rescue efforts at the site. They used their skills to search for survivors, and they participated in the bucket brigades, where workers passed debris from person to person to unearth victims in the rubble.
As rescue efforts gave way to recovery, Local 608 members continued to clear debris from the site, performed construction and carpentry work, and stabilized hazardous areas. They also crafted a temporary wooden memorial near West and Barclay streets, dedicated to all 18 members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America who died in the 9/11 attacks. After the recovery period formally ended in May 2002, some union members participated in the construction of the new World Trade Center. Local 608 later dissolved in 2010.
Nine members of Local 608 died in the attacks. Two members, FDNY Engine Company 54 firefighter Paul John Gill and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey locksmith David Ortiz, had responded to the attacks. The other seven members were working at Aon Corporation in the South Tower: Sean Thomas Canavan, Martin John Coughlan, Mauricio Gonzalez, Chris Michael Kirby, Benny Millman, John Frank Rizzo and Patrick J. Woods.
By Emily Edwards, Collections and Exhibitions Coordinator, and Katherine Fleming, Exhibition Coordinator, 9/11 Memorial Museum