Michael Blumthal, 12, of Suwanee holds an American flag as he looks at the sculpture illuminated Wednesday at Suwanee Town Center Park. The sculpture is the work of Georgia artist Marc Moulton and accompanies a 1,628-pound piece of steel recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)
SUWANEE — As the sun set over Suwanee Town Center Park on Wednesday evening, Frank Jennings walked up and placed his right hand on a rusted, mangled mound of metal and paused.
The 1,628-pound piece of steel was recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was given to the city of Suwanee by the Port Authoirty of New York and New Jersey two years ago. It’s a portion of the exterior panel used on floors 101 to 104 of one of the towers, and it’s now on permanent display in the city’s park, part of an overall artistic display titled “Remembrance.”
What was going through Jennings’ mind as he touched a piece of national history?
“I used to live in New York,” the Lawrenceville resident said. “I had meetings in that building.”
What was he feeling as he put his hand to the rusted steel?
“It’s hard to explain,” he said, tears shining in his eyes.
Jennings, who worked as a communications engineer in New York in the 1980s, was one of many who came out Wednesday for the dedication of “Remembrance,” Suwanee’s permanent 9/11 memorial that includes the steel artifact, a stainless steel sculpture depicting an aerial view of Lower Manhattan and a historic timeline of that day’s tragic events. Wednesday was the first opportunity for the public to view the sculpture illuminated, with the outline of the New York skyline at their feet.
During a presentation, city leaders called Sept. 11, 2001, “our generation’s most defining event,” “the event that forever changed our nation” and “a day we’ll always remember.”
Now, with its latest artistic display, the city of Suwanee will never forget.