Cross pulled from World Trade Center now a memorial to Sept. 11 victims

NEW YORK CITY (BP)-The cross has been saved.

The cross, that is, of steel beams uncovered as workers in New York cleared away debris at the World Trade Center.

Recovery worker Frank Silecchia, who has championed the cross' preservation, told Baptist Press Nov. 6 the cross has been designated as a memorial by the city of New York.

The cross has been moved to the front of the World Financial Center's Building Six on West Street, Silecchia said, noting that its final location has not yet been determined.

The cross is "a symbol of faith" commemorating those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Silecchia said.

Silecchia noticed the two steel beams in the perfect shape of a cross as debris was being removed from a fallen crosswalk that connected the World Trade Center's North Tower to Building Three two days after the disaster.

The beams, at least six feet high and four feet wide, were bolted together as part of the original structure. The edges of the beams bear no markings of being cut or welded to make the shape of a cross.

The most heart-wrenching discovery was that a silver object melted onto the cross' left side was the remains of a firefighter's jacket who died in the blast. Firefighters say the fire-resistant jacket turned silver and took on the look and consistency of metal when it encountered extreme heat and fire. Now, it is wrapped around the left arm of the cross.

The discovery of the two beams, and of several smaller crosses amid the rubble, led Silecchia on a campaign to save the cross from demolition, petitioning Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to designate it as a memorial to Sept. 11's victims.

Yellow and white writings by rescue workers in memory of their colleagues now cover the cross. The most visible of the markings runs down one side, "God bless our fallen brothers."

"For the terrorists, terror is their faith. For us, God is our faith," said Silecchia, a New Jersey man who is quick to give a Christian witness. "Who's going to win? God is. He's going to have the last word. And he did here," he said of the cross pulled from the terrorists' aftermath.


The original Baptist Press story was reported Oct. 26 by Kristi Hodge of the Florida Baptist Convention who accompanied a crew of disaster relief volunteers working in New York City. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: ONCE RUBBLE, NOW A MEMORIAL.

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