Two pieces of steel from ground zero are part of the 9/11 memorial in East Texas

Today, marks 22 years since the terror attacks in New York City
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 8:09 AM CDT
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Longview, Texas (KLTV) - Today, marks 22 years since the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The hijacked plane attacks claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 300 first responders.

Millions across the nation are remembering the lives lost on that day, through ceremonies or memorials.

Here in East Texas, there’s a memorial that is not only reminding firefighters of this day but also could be one of its kind locally.

From the outside, the Longview Fire Training Center looks like any other but when you walk inside you are met with a 9/11 memorial.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet feeling we know what sacrifices were made that day and in order for us to have this memorial,” said Kevin May, Longview’s Fire Marshall.

The two pieces of steel are debris from the World Trade Towers, ground zero. These 150-pound pieces were between the windowpanes of the skyscrapers.

“We were able to send four firemen, they traveled in a truck to NYC over 2 to 3 days and picked up these pieces and brought them to us,” said May.

The fire marshall says this is the only location in the city that has these pieces incorporated into the memorial.

“It is the only one that I’m aware of in the East Texas area,” said May.

Just the sight of the memorial brings heaviness, as May stands in silence and takes it all in, the memory of that day is still fresh on his mind.

“Typically, first thing in the morning, fire station you know we are cleaning up, eating breakfast, getting ready for our day. we got a phone call turned on the news, see what was going up in New York. While we were watching it the second plane hit,” said May.

After that day, he saw an increase in fire departments increasing their communication ability, which is still used today.

“A lot of departments got integrated devices in their air masks that can tell you where a fireman is. Every one of our firemen has their own radio assigned to them no swapping. There’s a lot of good things that come out of it unfortunately because of this,” said May.

As firefighters walk through these doors for a class or to just get their protective gear, they are reminded of the lives lost that day.

“It’s a way we can honor them as well I mean this happened in NYC and here, we are in Longview, Texas with a piece of these buildings behind us,” said May.

The memorial in Longview is part of many across the Lone Star State that have pieces of the World Trade Center.