Veterans Museum Brings Piece of World Trade Center Home

Veterans Museum Brings Piece of World Trade Center Home

Local Welding Institute Instrumental in Building of New York City Complex

By Matt Bayman

Since 1930, the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy has trained more than 85,000 students in the art of welding. The school is considered the largest and best of its kind in the United States, and teachers have trained men and women from around the world.

In the late 1960s, many graduates of the school took part in the construction of the World Trade Center in New York City — a project that took up 13-square-blocks in Lower Manhattan and which required more than 10,000 workers to complete. The World Trade Center Complex (a series of seven buildings) opened to the public on April 4, 1973. Little did the welders and iron workers trained in Troy know at that time, but in less than 40 years, both of the main buildings in the complex, as well as a third building, would collapse to the ground during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Now, because of Troy’s contributions and connection to the World Trade Center, as well as through the efforts of various organizations in the community, the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, located at 107 W. Main St. in downtown Troy, has been selected to receive a piece of wreckage from the World Trade Center, which will be on permanent display at the museum.

To celebrate this occasion and new artifact at the museum, a 911 Remembrance Day Commemoration will be held on Armed Forces Day weekend on May 18-20 at the Hobart Arena in Troy. During this event, which will include music and other activities, the piece from the tower will be displayed in its new home, created by Dayton artist and sculptor Michael Bashaw.

Stephen Larck, president and founder of the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, said the Port Authority of New York City contacted him on Oct. 4, 2011 to let him know that the museum had been selected to receive a piece of the wreckage from the World Trade Center. To date, only a handful of museums and organizations in the United States have been chosen to receive pieces from the wreckage. Larck said it is not known which tower the piece came from.

Larck said the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology became involved in this project because the Miami Valley Veterans Museum was seeking assistance in fabricating a structure and preserving the artifact of the World Trade Center they had acquired, not to mention the school’s ties to the construction of the buildings.

“Hobart Institute’s knowledge of metalworking made Hobart Institute the obvious place to begin,” he said. Hobart Institute accepted the responsibility and enlisted the assistance of Bashaw to create a model of the twin towers complex to serve as a frame and home for the historic steel. When the stainless steel sculpture is completed, it will be mounted on a base, constructed by military veterans who are Hobart Institute instructors and secured in an exhibit case.

The artifact will be permanently displayed at the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, whose mission is to “honor, preserve and perpetuate the memory and dignity of the men and women who have served in the US Armed Forces, Coast Guard and wartime Merchant Marine.”

The three-day event in May will honor the victims of 911 and the first responders and their families who provided aid and who continue to be impacted from the health effects of the attack. “The event will also raise awareness of the contributions made by men and women who have served in the armed forces since the attack and all who continue to protect our country against the threat of terrorism,” said Larck.

“Local first responders in the Miami Valley will be honored for their vigilance in preserving public safety in our communities,” he added.

The weekend will begin on Friday, May 18 with a free special “Thank You to Heroes” program at Hobart Arena, scheduled at 9:30a.m. for school-age students, with veterans and senior citizens welcome.

The Troy High School Band, under the direction of Kathy McIntosh, will perform during this ceremony. On Saturday, May 19, the World Trade Center artifact will be at Hobart Arena for free public viewing from 10a.m. to 5p.m. The weekend will conclude on Sunday, May 20 with a free “Celebration of Freedom” concert, also held at Hobart Arena. The concert, which will take place at 7p.m., will feature Daniel Rodriguez — the singing policeman from New York City — performing with The United States Air Force Band of Flight.

Larck said the City of Troy and the Troy Recreation Department have agreed to donate the use of Hobart Arena for this memorable event. Doors will open at 6p.m. and seating will be on a first-come-first-served basis. The “Celebration of Freedom” concert is funded by a grant from The Troy Foundation and other support.

The artifact will be permanently displayed at the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, but Larck said Bashaw’s finished work of art will also be made mobile so it can be taken to schools and other events for educational purposes.

The museum is a 501c(3) organization founded in 2009 and is located on the second floor of the Masonic Lodge. Hours are 1-5p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays, or by special appointment.

For more information on the event or the museum, call (937) 451-1455, or visit www.theyshallnotbeforgotten.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Bayman at MattBayman@DaytonCityPaper.com

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