Cantigny to display beams from World Trade Center

  • Two beams that supported the World Trade Center before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, will become part of a permanent display at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

    Two beams that supported the World Trade Center before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, will become part of a permanent display at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. Courtesy of Cantigny Park

 
By Ann Piccininni
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 9/9/2019 6:50 AM

A part of the structure that supported the World Trade Center before that fateful morning 18 years ago will become part of the permanent landscape Wednesday at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

Two steel beams from the towers' wreckage will be placed on permanent display just outside the park's First Division Museum, a facility that houses artifacts and exhibits from as far back as World War I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"The First Infantry Division is the oldest, continuously active division in the U.S. Army," said Laura Sears, the museum's program coordinator.

Sears said the museum has broadened its mission to include "stories from the collective experience of American history."

The beams were acquired by the museum in 2012 and previously have been displayed indoors.

"It's two beams. They are notably distorted and twisted. They are in an awkward position," Sears said.

A 30-minute dedication ceremony paying homage to both the first responders who raced to the scene of the 2001 terrorist attacks and to first responders who serve locally will be held at 4:30 p.m.

"We were really excited to have this type of event. We were really excited to bring out something that highlights our community's first responders," Sears said.

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Sears said Patrick Maloney, battalion chief of the Chicago Fire Department, will speak at the ceremony. The Firefighters Highland Guard of Naperville will play bagpipes, offering a rendition of "Amazing Grace," she said.

The new exhibit will be installed just prior to the ceremony.

"The main construction on the beams will be completed on that day," she said.

Plantings and a barrier fence will be added later, she said.

Sears said visitors at the ceremony will be invited to tie blue ribbons as a remembrance around cables surrounding the beams.

Cantigny Park will waive its parking fee after 3 p.m. Wednesday. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and available to visitors before the ceremony.

Sears said limited seating will be available at the ceremony.

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