The cross made from a World Trade Center steel beam waits at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn to be transported to the Shanksville, Pa., memorial for 9/11 victims of Flight 93.
A biker stands during national anthem.
NEW YORK - The roar of 1,000 motorcycles accompanied a steel beam from the World Trade Center yesterday as it traveled to Pennsylvania, where it will be part of a memorial in the town where an airliner crashed during the Sept. 11 attacks.
Hundreds of current and retired FDNY firefighters left Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field at about 7 a.m. to escort the girder on the 311-mile ride to Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 crashed.
Once in place, in a new memorial being built next to a volunteer fire company, the cross-shaped 2-ton, 14-foot long beam will sit on a base shaped like the Pentagon.
"It's a great thing to honor the people on Flight 93 by putting together all three attack sites - the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and Pennsylvania," said Eugene Stolowski, a New York firefighter who was along for the trip.
The members of the New York City Fire Riders joined a larger group that included bikers from as far away as Georgia. The beam rode on a flatbed truck.
Organizers planned to unveil the steel beam in the new memorial during a ceremony this morning. Relatives of some Sept. 11 victims were expected to attend.
The first structural steel pieces for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum have arrived at the site of the World Trade Center, and the job of putting them into place begins on Tuesday.
David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
The first structural steel pieces for the September 11 Memorial have arrived.
Forty years ago this summer, construction workers began erecting the steel framework of the World Trade Center. On Tuesday, a new generation of them will begin erecting the steel to frame its memorial.
Columns and beams from Owen Steel Company’s job No. 7-06 — the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center — started arriving at ground zero last Thursday on flatbed trailers. They are the first of more than 8,000 tons of steel that will be shipped to Lower Manhattan from the Owen fabrication plant in Columbia, S.C.
“To have it on site and to begin construction is a lift — a necessary lift,” said Joseph C. Daniels, the president and chief executive of the memorial and museum.
As the seventh anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the arrival of steel is a tangible sign that the new trade center is finally taking form, though long after it was supposed to and at a far higher price.
“We’ve worked hard to get the memorial back on track and on budget, and to raise necessary funding from many generous donors,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who is also the chairman of the memorial and museum. “Now we must all ensure it is our collective top priority, so that it’s open by the 10th anniversary.”
The memorial will be a formally landscaped plaza wrapping around two square voids where the twin towers stood. The names of the victims will be displayed around the voids, which will contain waterfalls and pools. The museum will be entered through a pavilion at plaza level, but most of it will be underground. Visitors will descend gradually past remnants of the twin towers’ columns, a staircase used by hundreds of survivors on 9/11 and an exposed section of the existing slurry wall.
The memorial and the museum are costing $530 million, financed by private donations and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The $80 million pavilion is to be paid for by New York State.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is building the memorial, museum and pavilion, which have been designed by Michael Arad, Peter Walker & Partners, Davis Brody Bond and Snohetta.
The hope is to have the memorial plaza ready for visitors by Sept. 11, 2011, Mr. Daniels said, with pedestrian access all along West Street and, ideally, at the corners of Church and Vesey Streets and Church and Liberty Streets. The museum will follow a year later.
Because the museum structure underpins the plaza, it must be constructed first. The building will start on Tuesday, with the erection of a 24-foot-9-inch, 7,700-pound steel column.
David Zalesne, the president of Owen Steel, said welders and fitters welcomed the job, even though many pieces were especially heavy and complex to fabricate. “They certainly take a special pride in putting their hands and their craftsmanship into the World Trade Center memorial,” he said.
On learning of the coincidental 40th anniversary of the original steel work — and in a nod to the concern that underlies any discussion of the trade center’s future — Mr. Zalesne said quietly, “Let’s hope we never have to build anything new at the site again.”