Leesville Mayor Rick Allen was among a number of police officers, firefighters, airmen from Barksdale Airforce Base and local dignitaries who welcomed a piece of history in Bossier City this morning.
Beam C from the 52nd floor of the North Tower arrived at the Bossier City Civic Center at about 10 a.m. June 23, 2015 for a short ceremony before moving on to its final resting place at the Bossier Civic Center’s Liberty Garden. Mayor Allen addressed the audience to thank those involved for allowing him to take part.
“I was very honored to receive the call to take part this morning,” said Mayor Allen. “It is an honor to be able to attend such a historic event for our state. Leesville has always had a close connection with Fort Polk, and we are looking forward to a long term relationship with Mayor Walker. From the citizens of Leesville, thank you for making this possible.”
Tom Lawson, the man responsible for making it possible for the city to receive the artifact, said it was a very emotional and time-consuming process, all made possible by sponsors, not public funds. “Every day when we get dressed to go to work, they did the same thing,” he said of the people killed in the attacks. He said this is a way for his city to never forget the sacrifices of those people.
“Not only does this remind us of 9/11, but it reminds us of all the sacrifices of the police, fire, and other public servants that gave their lives,” Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington explained.
A host of fire departments and police forces from across North Louisiana were represented at the ceremony.
Lawson received the call that his organization, Keep Bossier Beautiful, was going to be receiving the artifact Friday, February 13. Lawson said it took hours of negotiation and is the opportunity of a lifetime for Bossier, as well as the state of Louisiana.
Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker said he believes that having this memorial in place will benefit not just the City of Bossier, but the state as a whole.
“This will be a constant reminder of what happened, those that lost lives, and the first responders that we will never forget. This should make us aware that the world has changed. We need to support common sense initiatives to protect ourselves. This is just a reminder that we can be attacked in our own backyard. There is nothing else like this artifact in our state.”
The beam will be put in place at Liberty Garden at the Bossier City Civic Center by Calumet Specialty Products, LP.
“This is a one of a kind piece of American history and we are lucky to have it,” said Charles Cost of Calumet who is the plant manager in Cotton Valley.