By day's end, Barnegat will be home to not one but two pieces of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Barnegat resident and 9/11 first responder Charles Giles and other local first responders arranged for another tower piece recovered from the wreckage of Ground Zero and preserved by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to be brought to the township as memorial to those who served and died following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001.
Through the efforts of Giles and others, a 9-foot steel beam was gifted to the Barnegat Township School district in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks, and the steel is now a memorial on school grounds.
But Giles said some in the township's first responder community were disappointed in the way the district chose to accept and memorialize the steel.
"This has been in the works for about three months, and the Township did everything quickly and efficiently with the 9/11 responders," said Giles.
Deputy Mayor Al Cirulli and members of the Barnegat Police Department are joining Giles today to transport the massive steel and concrete girder from a hangar at JFK International Airport to the township municipal building.
The piece weighs 6.5 tons, said Giles, though a section will be going to Pinelands Regional High School in Little Egg Harbor Township. The steel, labeled artifact F-0002, has a powerful history, he said.
"This piece is the base of the North Tower," said Giles, explaining that it's part of one of four major support beams. "This part of the girder survived the attack in 1993."
The beam will become a permanent memorial in front of the municipal building, he said. A ceremony date has yet to be set.