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On the morning of Thursday, May 30, 2002, New York City marked the end of the recovery effort at the World Trade Center site with a ceremony that will began at 10:29 a.m. The time marks the fall of the last piece of steel after the collapse of the second tower at 10:28 a.m. The ceremony, which was approximately 20 minutes, began with the ceremonial ringing of the FDNY bell in 5-5-5-5 code. The bell rang 20 times in four sets of five rings, which is the traditional signal for a fallen firefighter.

An All Agency Honor Guard was assembled along the sides of the ramp consisting of 220 individuals representing 19 city, state and federal agencies, and WTC-related groups. A processional up the ramp began with an Agency Escort representing 12 groups carrying a stretcher with an American flag folded on top symbolizing all those who perished on September 11th and were not recovered. At the top of the ramp, the stretcher was placed in a waiting ambulance. Then a combination pipe and drum unit including drums and pipers from FDNY, NYPD & PAPD, followed by a recovery truck. The truck was draped with black cloth and proceeded up the ramp carrying the last load of steel, also known as the Stars and Stripes beam, which was covered with an American flag. The entire processional paused at the top of the ramp while "Taps" is played followed by a helicopter flyover. The processional then turned right onto the West Side Highway and made its way about fifteen blocks to Canal Street. At the same time, a combined FDNY/NYPD/PAPD Ceremonial Unit formed a line across the top of the ramp, officially marking the end of the recovery effort at the World Trade Center site. (Please note: the recovery process continues at Fresh Kills, as does the identification of remains at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.)


10:29 A.M. - Program begins with ringing of FDNY Fire Bell in 4/5's sequence by Firefighter James M. Sorakac.

10:30 A.M. - Present arms announced. Agency Escort begins to walk up the ramp with the stretcher.

10:32 A.M. - Stretcher moves toward top of ramp and stops. Doors to ambulance open. Agency Escorts proceed to place stretcher inside and doors are closed. Order arms announced (drop salute).

10:33 A.M. - Agency Escorts move off to sides of ramp area.

10:35A.M. - All Agency Honor Guard salute. Pipe and Drum Unit begins to play and proceeds to march up ramp followed by the Recovery Truck carrying the Stars and Stripes beam.

10:38 A.M. - Pipe Drum Unit and Recovery truck reach ambulance and stop. All Agency Honor Guard proceeds to follow truck up ramp.

10:39 A.M. - Echo "Taps" is played by Firefighter Julias Ponteveccio and Police Officer Edward Harrigan.) Followed immediately by NYPD helicopter flyover.

10:40 A.M. - Order Arms announced (drop salute). Honor Guard continues to exit ramp.

10:42 A.M. - "America the Beautiful" played by the Pipe and Drum Unit.

10:44 A.M. - Song ends. Ambulance, Pipe and Drum Unit and Recovery truck slowly exit site, turn right and proceed north on the West Side Highway to Canal Street.
(Note: at Canal Street, Pipe and Drum Unit disbands and Recovery Truck heads east on Manhattan Bridge and then to Port Authority hanger at JFK).

10:46 A.M. - Combined NYPD, FDNY, PAPD Ceremonial Unit form a line across the top of the ramp, closing the site.

10:48 A.M. - Ceremony Ends. Crowd may follow processional to Canal Street.

Announcing commands throughout ceremony: Lt. Tony Giorgio, NYPD Ceremonial Unit.

Agency Escorts: 12 individuals representing Fire Dept., Police Dept., Port Authority Police Dept., Department of Design and Construction, Office of Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, Construction Workers, Court Officers, Families, and Port Authority Civilian Staff.

All Agency Honor Guard: 220 individuals representing 19 groups including Fire Department, Police Department, Port Authority Police Department, Office of Emergency Management, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Correction, Department of Sanitation, Department of Design and Construction, Sheriff's Department, National Guard, Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Families, Construction Workers, New York State Police, American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and Greater New York Hospital Association.