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Constructors reflect on 21st anniversary of 9/11

Don Wall
Constructors reflect on 21st anniversary of 9/11

Sept. 11 is a sobering day for citizens across the U.S. and Canada but it’s a time of special reflection for the construction sector, says Brian Turmail, vice-president of public affairs for the Associated General Contractors of America.

This Sunday marks the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, at the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. and in a plane crash near Shanksville, Penn. Of the nearly 3,000 people who died, 400 were police officers and firefighters.

“Needless to say, Sept. 11 is a sombre day for the construction industry,” said Turmail.

“We pause to remember the senseless tragedy of so many lives taken by such vile people. We remember the colleagues of ours who lost their lives on that day, and the families they left behind. We pause to remember the many men and women of our armed forces who sacrificed so much defending our country in the years that have followed.”

Not only was the engineering and construction sector called into action for a massive clean-up and remediation effort, but it has contributed significantly to the erection of memorials and replacement projects such as the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, Turmail noted.

“We pause to remember the loss of two of the most iconic structures our industry built,” he said. “And we pause to honour the work our industry did to rebuild and replace the physical damage done on Sept. 11.”

On Saturday, Sept. 10 the museum will be closed from 2 p.m. on to welcome 9/11 community members. The next day, Sept. 11, the memorial will be closed to the public until 3 p.m. for the commemoration ceremony. Family members of 9/11 victims will again gather on the memorial plaza to read aloud the names of those killed in the 9/11 attacks and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Special programming later in the month includes a panel discussion titled Rebuilding After 9/11: How the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Was Forever Changed. The Sept. 29 session will explore how the FDNY, with 343 active-duty members killed in the attacks, had to rebuild from top to bottom, while caring for grieving members and 9/11 families, deploying firefighters to the World Trade Center site for the rescue and recovery operation, and providing fire protection for the city.

Former FDNY Fire Commissioners Thomas Von Essen, Salvatore Cassano and Daniel A. Nigro will be joined by Brian McDonald, author of Five Floors Up, which chronicles the life of Chief William Feehan, the only person to have held every rank in the FDNY, who was killed on 9/11.

Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

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