No one in Brick will ever forget.
That was the message sent by local officials to those gathered at Friday as a piece of steel from one of the towers of the former World Trade Center in New York City was brought to the township by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The 118 pound, 41 inch-long piece of steel didn't look pretty. There was some rust, some burn marks and some dirt. But that was the way it's supposed to look, a reminder of the disastrous events of Sept. 11, 2001 when a group terrorists flew airliners into the buildings, demolishing them and killing 3,000 people in the process.
"It's part of that healing process," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis. "Our Angel in Anguish, plus the steel, really symbolizes what the American people are made of."
"We're humbled to have it."
Bill Baroni, Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority, said Acropolis fought hard to have the piece of steel brought to Brick, home of the monument, and also home of eight of Ocean County's 19 Sept. 11 victims who were killed in the attacks.
"For all of those that we lost, this is a permanent memorial to them," Baroni said.
Pointing to a group of children playing at the park who he said looked too young to have been born when the attacks occurred, he said, "That's why this is so important for this to be here in Brick Township."
The Township plans on placing the artifact on permanent display near the Angel in Anguish Monument which sits in the center of the park, overlooking the Metedeconk River.
The monument, designed by local sculptor Brian Hanlon, bears the name of the eight township residents who were killed: John Badagliacca, Brett Bailey, Robert Devitt, Michael Diehl, John Perconti, James Sands, Thomas Sgroi and Christopher Traina.