Of the 2,752 people who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, 343 were firefighters.
With a piece of steel from the towers, volunteer firefighters in York County plan to build a public memorial in hopes area people will never forget those who died.
The Bethesda Volunteer Fire Department, located southwest of Rock Hill, has been approved to receive a steel beam that was retrieved from the wreckage of the towers.
The beam - categorized among the thousands of huge and small pieces of steel at JFK Airport Hangar 17 as "H-90" - is 14 feet long, an inch thick, 16 inches wide, 34 inches tall and weighs almost two tons.
That's 4,090 pounds of steel that at one time was part of the busiest financial center on earth - until scoundrels flew two planes into them.
"The point is to honor every person, every firefighter, that was lost that terrible day," said Bob Davenport, a longtime Bethesda volunteer and magistrate judge.
"This is a piece of history that will show that we at Bethesda remember their sacrifice and courage."
The beam will be displayed at the York County Fire Training grounds on Ogden Road.
The plan was to pick it up Wednesday, with Davenport and Bethesda volunteer Jeff Alston using a donated flatbed truck from Carolina Trailer, but bad weather in New York has postponed the pickup until next month.
But the beam will make it here soon and will be displayed so the public can see it.
Dave Pennell, a Bethesda volunteer, applied for the steel after the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which is handling the relics from the site, advertised that pieces were available to civic and emergency groups that wanted to create displays.
"It just seemed that we could do something here that would be a public reminder," Pennell said.
"9/11 is never far from anybody's mind - especially firefighters."
Months after the 9/11 attacks, much of the steel wreckage was taken to the airport hangar for preservation.
After the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Foundation chose what it wanted, the port authority - which operated the Twin Towers - opened proposals early last year.
So many places and groups applied - far more than a thousand - that the port authority ran out of relics.
"The steel had to be for a public display," said Steve Coleman, a port authority spokesman.
"There were huge pieces - Coatesville in Pennsylvania, where some of the steel was forged, took 28 pieces - those big "Y" shapes that look like tuning forks and were signatures of the towers - and some pieces are just three or four feet long."
The beam Bethesda will get has some rust, like all the steel that was exposed to the weather after the attacks. But it will come here, long before the 10th anniversary of the attacks in September.
"Giving people in York County a way to see a piece of the trade center is important," said Bethesda Fire Chief Larry Williams.
"Firefighters do so much for people - including sometimes giving their lives."
Want to help?
To donate to the Bethesda Fire Department, call 803-328-0779; or write to P.O. Box 8022, Rock Hill, SC 29730.