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Small Canadian town gets beam from World Trade Center in show of gratitude

By Shawn Price
Small Canadian town gets beam from World Trade Center in show of gratitude
The World Trade Center steel beam was donated to the town of Gander, Newfoundland, as a show of appreciation for when the town took care of thousands of passengers stranded there after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Photo courtesy Dwight Ball, premier of Newfoundland

GANDER, Newfoundland and Labrador, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The town of Gander, Newfoundland, on Sunday received a piece of a beam from one of the World Trade Towers as a gift of gratitude for the town's help 15 years ago.

Gander was presented the 3-by-3-foot steel beam by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, an organization named after a New York firefighter who was killed trying to save people in the buildings.

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The small, northeast Atlantic Coast town has an important international airport that has been both a refueling station and a rescue for planes in need of emergency landings.

On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 7,000 passengers were taken in by the townspeople. Passengers were fed, housed and provided various assistance for three days while they waiting out the grounding of U.S. flights after the attacks.

Sunday was the second time Gander received a piece of the towers. The first came five years ago to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks in 2011.

Beginning on Sept. 6, a convoy of about 50 military and firefighters escorted the beam nearly 1,500 miles from New York to Gander, led by John Ponte, director of Building for America's Bravest.

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As Ponte and his group traveled through Canada, another 50 riders joined the convoy.

"I have to say that from the time we crossed the boarder to today, the respect and love that Canadians gave that piece of steel was unbelievable," he said.

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