TEANECK, N.J. — A giant American flag flapped in the breeze between aerial tower ladders from Ridgefield Park and Teaneck as the last piece of steel from the World Trade Center was transported along Route 80 today to Colorado.
“Teaneck Fire Department is honored to be able to pay tribute to all that sacrificed their lives on 9/11,” said Teaneck Fire Chief Anthony Verley as he stood with his firefighting brethren on the Park Avenue bridge linking both towns. “We appreciate all the Americans who continue to support and remember this important time in our history.”
Ridgefield Park firefighter Leonard Hatton escaped from the Twin Towers and was killed after he rushed back to help others.
“It was a big loss that everybody felt,” said Ridgefield Park Fire Chief Michael Lauer. “Sept. 11 was the most horrific loss by any single fire department in history. It was the biggest single day loss. The only one before that was Pearl Harbor.”
The sun was out and the sky was blue and clear -- an irony not lost on the firefighters gathered on various Route 80 overpasses from Fort Lee to Budd Lake.
“I think it’s nice people still remember,” Teaneck Deputy Fire Chief Tom Draney said, as motorists beeped and honked.
Various emergency services agencies were either escorting or saluting the five-foot long, 3,500-pound Twin Towers I-beam, one of the last being given to a fire department.
The Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund and Port Authority donated it to the Poudre Fire Authority in Fort Collins, whose Urban Search and Rescue Team was dispatched to Ground Zero. The fund assists firefighters and families nationwide with financial, educational and medical support and donates equipment to those departments that need it.
Carly Lynn, 23, of Ridgefield Park came out to support her mom and brother -- who serve on the village department -- and for a friend.
“I went to school with this girl in high school who lost her father in the World Trade Center,” said Lynn. “I thought this was a good way to pay tribute.”
MORE INFO: www.poudre-fire.org/what-s-new/wtc-artifact-journey OR www.terryfund.org .