Staff Photo: John Bohn A piece of metal from the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan is unveiled at Suwanee Town Center Park Saturday evening. Suwanee Chief of Police Mike Jones, left, salutes remains with City of Suwanee police officers and firefighters
SUWANEE -- Jack Curtin's brother entered the north tower of the World Trade Center three times before it collapsed Sept. 11, 2001.
Sgt. Michael Curtin, a police officer, was one of 400 public safety workers killed, after rushing to the scene of the infamous attacks, and his brother used to have to go to New York to visit his grave.
"Now I can come here, and feel like it's close and I can be close to him," Jack Curtin, of Duluth, said of a piece of the World Trade Center unveiled in Suwanee's Town Center on Saturday. "This will always be a special place for me.
Hundreds of people filled the park during a remembrance ceremony to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
After an honor guard of police officers and firefighters unveiled the beam, the crowd circled it, many reaching out to feel its burnt and mangled edges.
For Gwinnett Assistance Fire Chief Greg Schafer, the crowd around the monument proved, "You all have honored your commitment that we never forget."
Jim Lenahan, a current Suwanee resident who rushed to Ground Zero while in New York on a business trip, said the only way to describe that day was "surreal."
"It's been a haunting 10 years," he said, revealing that he believes the terrorists "score" in little ways when people agree to searches at the airport or other changes that were made post-9/11.
"Whenever we accept the trade of feeling security for even an ounce of liberty, they score a little bit," he said, challenging the crowd. "Erecting monuments and secular shrines is not enough. What you have to do is act."
Suwanee Police Chief Mike Jones agreed, inviting people to help public safety officers in their work to deter another attack.
"America rose up that day 10 years ago, and I want to ask you to continue that," he said. "We need your support and help to be the best we can be."