Museum volunteers and community escorts pick up commemorative artifact for 10th Anniversary of 9/11
The Millville Army Air Field Museum (MAAFM) was awarded a commemo-rative steel beam from the World Trade Center by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It was picked up in New York on Thursday, September 8, 2011, and transported to the museum at Millville Airport by volunteers and numerous organizations and indi-viduals who offered to help escort the piece in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 attack.Joining in the escort were members of the Millville Police and Fire Depart-ments; the Vineland Police Department; the NJ State Police; members of the Red Knights, New Jersey Chapter 16; the Patriot Guard Riders; and numer-ous other military support groups. The transport effort was coordinated by Ed Lazarcheck, MAAFM board mem-ber/outreach director and U.S. Navy and Army veteran, who was called to New York after 9/11 as an employee of the NJ Department of Corrections to assist during the aftermath.“It was a time of tremendous sorrow and patriotism,” offered Lazarcheck. “I will never forget the things I saw at ground zero after the 9/11 tragedy and am honored to help bring this piece of the World Trade Towers to Millville so that we will always remember… just like Pearl Harbor.”Ed Lazarcheck and son Chris, a certified EMT and fire fighter with the Millville Fire Department, began the journey at 6:00am on Thursday to JFK Airport where they accepted the WTC artifact and transported it by truck to Millville, arriving at Millville Airport at 2:00pm.MAAFM chairman emeritus Andrew Kondrach, from Hammonton, NJ, initiated the effort to obtain the WTC artifact for the museum in July. Since that time the project has become a museum staff and volunteer effort.
Official word that the museum would receive the steel beam came on Sep-tember 2, just days before WTC 10th Anniversary ceremonies were set to begin on the weekend of September 10 and 11, 2011.
The WTC steel beam commemorative artifact was displayed at the City of Millville’s 9/11 commemorative cere-monies on Sunday, September 11. It was located at the Millville Fire Depart-ment building on Buck Street, where, at the same time that the first tower was struck, the names of the 343 fallen fire fighters were read aloud. The arti-fact was later moved to the city’s official public ceremony which took place at 6:30pm at Buck Park, at Buck and Main Streets.After these ceremonies, the WTC steel beam was returned to the Millville Army Air Field Museum, where it was put on permanent display for public view. MAAFM display/collections coordinator Joan Legg created an exhibit which honors this historic event with photos and narrative. “This was truly a group effort for the museum, and there are many dedi-cated volunteers and patriots whom we thank for making this happen,” said Lisa Jester, MAAFM executive director. “We cherish our WTC artifact and proudly display it as a tribute to this important event in America’s history.”The WTC steel beam awarded to the Millville Army Air Field Museum weighs approximately 206 pounds. “We are tremendously honored to have received this piece of history. It is small in size in comparison to some WTC artifacts, but huge in its meaning to us. Our display serves as a continu-ing memorial to the many heros who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and of America’s support in the after-math,” said Chuck Wyble, president of the MAAFM.