DALLAS, Tex.–On the evening of August 14, almost 14 years after the World Trade Center attacks, a metal beam from the 2001 World Trade Center’s foundation began its transport to a memorial site in South Florida.
This monumental shipment involved the strategic movement of a highly significant piece of 9/11 history.
On Wednesday, August 12, American Airlines worked closely with the Kennedy Space Center Fire Rescue and members represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU)—International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, to begin the transport of the 2,000-pound beam. American Airlines Cargo and Ground Services Inc., a partner trucking company, donated all transportation costs for this important artifact, which took a fully escorted journey from New York to Florida, said a release.
“On behalf of the thousands of dedicated employees of American Airlines Cargo, it is an incredible honor for us to have been entrusted with this move. This is a moment for us to reflect that air cargo is far more than just a business,” said Jim Butler, President of AA Cargo.
A formal ceremony at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) occurred Wednesday morning, as the beam was transferred from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to American’s cargo facility.
“As the Executive Vice President of TWU Local 501 here in New York, I’m proud to be representing all of the ground workers who lent their support and helped begin the process to transport this beam from New York all the way to Florida,” said Fleet Service Crew Chief Angelo Cucuzza.
“As a lifelong New Yorker, there’s obviously an emotional attachment to anything related to the World Trade Center. When the call came in, it was a no brainer that we would do whatever was needed to make it happen and that’s what happened today. It is only the beginning of the journey. To see everybody bond together at American with the assistance of the Port Authority was tremendous. I am very happy to be a part of it.”
American’s JFK team refurbished a tug and dolly specifically to transport the beam and also created a special crate for its journey to Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Ground Services then transported the beam, housed in an American flag-draped container, Thursday from the facility at JFK to Philadelphia (PHL), where it was carefully loaded onto a Boeing 767-300 bound for Miami (MIA). On Friday, the beam successfully traveled to its final resting place at the Kennedy Space Center Fire Rescue 9/11 Memorial in Cape Canaveral.
“I am deeply moved by the many groups that came together in order to make the movement of this historical item possible,” said Korina Trinh, a Cargo Operations Control Analyst with American Airlines Cargo who coordinated the logistical elements. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be entrusted with coordinating the transportation of such an important part of our history. I had the utmost confidence in my colleagues and counterparts’ abilities to ensure this beam would arrive at its destination safely and with the honor, dignity and respect it deserves.”
A formal dedication of this piece at the memorial site is planned for September 11.