(May 19, 2003) -- LB residents came to view, to experience, to touch and be touched by, a memorial convoy containing 16 tons of mangled metal from NYC's former World Trade Center and a damaged NYC 9-11 fire truck.
The ruins included the eerily recognizable window structure of a World Trade Center tower, melted and collapsed by jet fuel ignited in a terrorist attack less than two years ago.
The items made a four hour stop at LBCC's ELB parking lot on May 18 as part of a statewide tour by the Freedom's Flame Memorial Committee, assisted locally by LB Firefighters Local 372 and the Long Beach Fire Dept.
The emotional punch was apparent from the moment the memorial convoy rounded the corner of Carson St. and Clark Ave. Roughly 100 people waiting on the parking lot lowered their voices, some fell silent, others walked to the entrance, forming an impromptu honor guard as two trucks carrying the materials arrived.
A steady stream of visitors continued to arrive into the early evening.
The crowd initially watched from a distance, then gradually approached. Here they view a NY City Fire truck which fought flames and sustained damage at Ground Zero.
Reactions ranged from quiet talk to no talk. There were misty eyes and contemplative moments.
Adults did their best to explain to children the significance of what they were seeing.
Tim D'Amico, a LB firefighter, talks to his sons.
9th district Councilman Val Lerch said that while serving in the Coast Guard, he was for a time stationed in the NYC area...and saw the World Trade Center towers being built.
6th district Councilwoman Laura Richardson was moved to see the magnitude of the destruction firsthand, coupled with the knowledge that the event changed the world as we know it.
Press-Telegram scribe Tom Hennessy, and to his immediate left PT reporter Ian Hanigan.
LB Fire Department Public Information Officer and eagle-eyed digital photographer, Wayne Chaney.
5th district Council office aide Tim Patton, 8th district Council office aide Jerry Caligiuri.
LB Firefighters Local 372 president Bill Ardizzone introduces Councilman Lerch to Freedom's Flame memorial sculptor Lawrence Noble (further information, below).
Mr. Noble did an on-camera interview for KCOP (channel 13). KTLA (channel 5) also photographed the event.
A thousand words: