POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

TSA WTC Beam Dedication: ‘This is why we are here’

By Erin Delmore
NJTV News Correspondent

TSA lead officer Adam Hamrick says this steel beam still smelled, 14 years after the towers burned. It was part of the World Trade Center.

“It smelled like burned metal the entire time and it reminded me a lot of when I was down in the city that day,” Hamrick said.

He transported the wreckage from a warehouse at JFK Airport to the custody of the Newark Airport TSA, three months ago. This week, the three and a half foot, 470 pound beam was unveiled and dedicated.

“It only takes a quick glance to see the impact of the horrific events of that day on the piece,” said Federal Security Director Thomas J. Carter.

Sal Caponetto worked at the Trade Center for 13 years. He volunteered in the days after 9/11 loading tugboats with food and supplies. This anniversary he used his woodworking background to build a tribute to the victims. He and Vincent Devico built the base for the beam.

“My father was a custom cabinet maker. I’ve been working with wood since I’m ten years old, so doing something like this, it’s in my veins,” Caponetto said. “I have the carpentry background, I have the designing background, because of my father. And he left me with this to work with [my hands]. He taught me how to use them the right way.”

An inscription on the base says, “Let this serve as a reminder to all TSA employees. This is why we are here.” The agency was created in response to 9/11, along with the Department of Homeland Security. Hamrick says that’s why he joined.

“I knew exactly what I wanted to do, based on what happened when I was in school that day. This is my calling. I’ve been here almost 10 years now,” he said.

The beam will stay here at TSA headquarters in Union for the time being. A TSA spokesperson says it may be displayed at Newark Airport once the TSA can coordinate with the Port Authority on its security.