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Press Releases / 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 3, 2003


3,000-pound steel beam will become a memorial at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today was joined by hundreds of New York City Fire Firefighters and United States Marines outside the New York Stock Exchange for a ceremony to bless an 11-foot section of steel from the north tower of the World Trade Center. The ceremony took place shortly after representatives from the FDNY and the US Marine Corps joined NYSE Chairman Dick Grasso in ringing the opening bell. The 3,000-pound galvanized steel beam is being transported to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where it will be permanently displayed as a memorial honoring the memory of the 343 New York City Firefighters killed on September 11, 2001.

“On behalf of the Fire Department and all of it’s members I would like to thank the United States Marine Corps for their steadfast support,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “This steel beam from the North Tower stands for unbending character exhibited by all members of the Fire Department who served on September 11th, and in the days that followed. It reminds us that firefighters often forge their unmistakable character from the influence of others—such as Marines. And now more than ever it reminds us of our common quest to prevail against the threat of terrorism.”

Retired Fire Lieutenant and founder of the Fire Family Transport Foundation Patrick “Paddy” Concannon acquired the steel beam, which was among several others being used to create memorials around New York City. He and several other members of the department came up with the idea of “leather helmets to leathernecks” as a way to thank the Marines and all the members of the military for everything they have done for the Fire Department, our city and this country since September 11th.

“The Fire Department like the Marine Corps is rich in history and tradition. One of the more visible traditions of the Fire Department was the old leather helmet our firefighters once wore,” said Concannon. “As many people know, through the years the Marines have been referred to as leathernecks—referring to the high, leather collars that were once a part of their uniforms. That’s how we came up with the idea of leather helmets to leathernecks.”

“The Marine Corps is very humbled by this wonderful gesture from the heroes of the New York City Fire Department and accepts it with the degree of respect that both of our services knows and deserves, said Major David C. Anderson of the US Marine Corps.

Immediately following the ceremony a convoy of more than a dozen vehicles, including a fire engine bearing the number 343, along with hundreds of New York City Firefighters and United States Marine Corps personnel, will make its way down to North Carolina.

The beam will be presented to the Marines in a ceremony on July 4th during the Annual Camp Lejeune Independence Day celebration. Attending will be over 20,000 Marines and their families, including 5,100 members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and 2,200 members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which have just returned from Iraq, along with several thousand other members of the military.

The ceremony dedicating the beam will also serve to honor the bond between those US Marines who gave their lives during the war in Iraq and those members of the FDNY who also made the ultimate sacrifice at the World Trade Center. The beam and a plaque commemorating it will be placed next to a similar memorial dedicated to the 241 US Marines killed in the terrorist bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983.

Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / David Billig / Michael Loughran (718) 999-2056


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