Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Schools

September 11, 2011

Students touch a piece of history

GLASGOW — Makena McMurtrey was just a baby when the terrorist attacks occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, yet she and her fifth-grade classmates at South Green Elementary know all about that fateful day.

They’ve been studying it in class and on Friday, during the school’s annual Patriot’s Day program, they were given the opportunity to actually touch a piece of steel that was once a part of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.

“That made me kind of sad, because I know so many people had died in that accident,” she said.

Tanner Bowles, who is also in the fifth grade, said Sept. 11, 2001, “wasn’t a good day for America.”

“It was when tons of people died,” he said.

Kevin Poynter, a firefighter with the Glasgow Fire Department, was one of the firefighters who brought the piece of steel, which is part of a structural steel beam, into the school’s gym for the students to see.

He, along with Sgt. Jeff Manning, traveled to New York earlier in the week to pick up the artifact.

“We pulled up to Hangar 17, knowing what was all inside it. We were not allowed inside the hangar. We actually went to the hangar door and they brought it to the hangar door to us,” Poynter said.

While in New York, the firefighters drove by the Sept. 11 Memorial.

Getting to see it in person was “touching,” said Manning. “It’s really hard to put it into words how it affects you emotionally.”

Poynter and Manning met a World Trade Center survivor during their visit to New York. When they told the woman they had come to pick up the artifact, Poynter said, “She just started crying. She was in one of the towers.”

The woman shared with them that she has packed away the clothes she was wearing on Sept. 11, 2001 and that whenever anything airs on television about that day she turns off the set.

“That kind of hit you in the heart,” Poynter said. “It was really neat to actually meet someone who was at the World Trade Center.”

Beverly Hammons, a fifth grade teacher at SGE, encouraged her students to touch the piece of steel as they exited the gym.

“I don’t ever want them to forget, even in the bad times or the good times that we, as Americans, all stick together, and yes, a building may fall down, but we’re still a group, as Americans, we will stick together,” she said.

She wanted her students to learn to respect the first responders who risk their lives every day for Americans, Hammons said.

Attending the program were soldiers with the Kentucky National Guard, along with the Glasgow Fire Department, the Glasgow Police Department, the Barren County Sheriff’s Office and Barren-Metcalfe Emergency Medical Services and their dispatchers and office personnel.

“It’s a great honor for myself and my agency to be a part of the celebration,” said Guy Turcotte, Glasgow police chief. “It almost takes your breath away to see part of the 9/11 towers here. We are sad to see it, but we’re happy to see it here in town, also.”

Turcotte watched the students’ reactions during the program.

“A lot of them were excited to see it,” he said. “I have a feeling that a lot of parents at home tonight are going to get a lot of stories about today.”

The piece of steel will eventually become part of a memorial that will be created at the Glasgow Fire Department’s training facility near Beaver Trail Park.

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