MUSCLE SHOALS — Sometimes a touch releases more feelings than words or sight and can take someone back to an event, a time in the past, and a buried emotion.
Wade Woods had such a feeling when he arrived at a fenced lot in New York City. The lot stored steel salvaged from the rubble of the World Trade Centers that were destroyed 11 years ago.
And now he has brought home to Muscle Shoals a piece of steel for the public to touch. He said he hopes it commemorates the feeling of the nation after almost 3,000 people were killed when four planes, hijacked by 19 terrorists, flew into the World Trade Centers in New York City, the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., and crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa.
Woods delivered a nearly 100-pound piece of steel to the Muscle Shoals City Council on Monday night for display in City Hall.
The steel, only 14-inches by 14-inches, is a small reminder of something Woods believes should never be forgotten.
“What I want is for us to never forget the people that died,” he said.
They were innocent, he said. They died because they woke up and went to work, ran an errand or tried to save the lives of others after the attacks, he said.
“In my lifetime, I’ve never seen America as united as I did in the days, weeks and months after that,” he said. “I want that to be remembered.”
Woods, after months of work, secured the piece of an I-beam from the Fire Department of New York City in April and delivered it to the city Monday night so it could be displayed for the 11th anniversary of the attacks.
A permanent display is planned, but the beam will be temporarily displayed in the city clerks’ office in Muscle Shoals City Hall during business hours.
“It is a unique opportunity to give people the chance to really remember that day,” Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford said.
Woods, a Muscle Shoals-based filmmaker, was inspired by several trips to New York City to film a documentary, called “A Thousand Miles Together,” about how the attacks united Americans. It is one of those events that people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news, he said.
“People in New York are humbled that others from a small town in Alabama want to share in this and stand with them,” he said.
Daniel Beard, a filmmaker working with Woods, said it was interesting to see the similarities between New Yorkers and Alabamians from behind the camera.
He said sometimes people feel separated, but in actuality, we are all connected.
“Traveling to and filming people in New York, I realized how much we really have in common as people,” he said. That was emphasized when talking about the Sept. 11 attacks.
“We are all Americans. We are all together,” Beard said.
Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754 or jennifer.edwards@TimesDaily.com.
On the Net
For more information on the project and Wade Woods’ documentary, visit www.thousand-miles.bbnow.org or www.wade-woods.net.
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