The last column still standing after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 was returned to New York’s Ground Zero this morning as a symbol of renewal and hope. It was taken away from the site in 2002, wrapped in black muslin and an American Flag, as part of a ceremony that honored the end of recovery efforts. For the last seven years it has been in storage in a hangar at Kennedy airport, where it was being preserved. The beam was moved back to the site in a procession that included a police and fire escort down West Street.
During the recovery process, the 36-foot-high steel beam became a temporary memorial; it once held up the South Tower.
The column, officially known as Column No. 1,0001 B of 2 World Trade Center, will eventually become a part of the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. The column is covered in tributes, cards, police and firehouse patches and union stickers. It was also spray painted with symbols of some of the police and firefighters who died in the attacks.
Until the museum opens in 2012, the column will be sealed in a special covering and further preserved in a huge climate-controlled box.
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