Steel beam recovered following 9/11 terrorist attacks en route to Gander
A 250-pound piece of steel beam recovered from debris after the 9/11 terrorist attack passed through Dieppe, N.B., on Thursday, on its way to Gander, N.L.
It's a bit rusty and bent out of shape, but the beam was once a part of the World Trade Centre's south tower.
Dozens of motorcyclists, most of them veterans, waited to watch it cross the border.
"To see a piece of New York City coming up here to Gander years later, to me, it's just a sign that we're all united," said veteran Trapper Cane.
Gander fed and housed nearly 7,000 passengers after 9/11 when the planes they were on diverted to the Gander International Airport.
Residents threw open their doors to help those stranded and in distress after the attack.
"It's typical of Newfoundlanders to stand tall like they did to help others. Incredible people," said Cane.
John Ponty is travelling with the beam from New York to Gander – almost 1,500 kilometres. It was donated by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, named after a New York firefighter killed while helping to rescue people from the towers.
"I think it's important to thank the people that do good things,” said Ponty. “Today, everyone talks about the bad things. What Gander did, what that community did, it's just unbelievable. They earned that piece of steel."
Ponty says to see veterans wanting to accompany it through the Maritimes means a lot.
"I'm a biker myself and I'm a veteran myself, and to see all these brothers and sisters out here supporting, it's just a great thing. Very, very patriotic people."
And as Sunday approaches, Canadians and Americans are stopping to think about that day 15 years ago.
"As a soldier who's been in harm’s way before, to imagine that there were tens of thousands of people trapped in those buildings, like everyone else around the world, it just stops your heart," said Cane.
The convoy will spend the night in Dieppe, then carry on to Cape Breton, reaching Gander by Sept. 11.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.