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Piece of World Trade Center arrives at Connellsville high school

| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 6:31 a.m.
Linda Shearer, founder of the CAHS Patriots, on Monday looks at a piece of steel from the World Trade Center that will be the centerpiece of the Connellsville Area High School World Trade Center Memorial in the auditorium foyer. The plastic-covered artifact, which was recently delivered, was aquired by the CAHS Patriots. Mark Hofmann | Daily Courier Dec. 3, 2012

The piece of metal from the World Trade Center that was moved into town from New York City last year has reached its final resting place at Connellsville Area High School.

In early February 2011, representatives from the school district traveled to New York City to bring home a 4-ton piece of steel from the World Trade Center that collapsed after a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

The artifact was obtained by high school English teacher Linda Shearer, who also is the founder of the CAHS Patriots, a nonprofit group that raises money to send care packages to soldiers serving overseas.

In 2010, Shearer contacted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on behalf of the CAHS Patriots when she learned the authority was providing pieces of the World Trade Center to interested organizations that wanted to put them on display.

Shearer's request was one of more than 1,000 from every state and six foreign countries.

The steel carries the serial number I-0029, measures 180 inches by 66 inches by 8 inches and weighs 8,370 pounds.

The artifact was transported from a hangar at JFK Airport to Connellsville, where the community came out to see the steel make its way through town and around the school.

In early November, crews moved the artifact to the future foyer of the high school's auditorium.

“It's overwhelming to me,” said Shearer, who didn't find out about the move until the end of November because access to the artifact was restricted due to the renovation work.

“It's here, and it's in place,” she said.

While there is no definite answer of when the World Trade Center Memorial space will be open to the public, Shearer showed conceptual images of the finished memorial with a quote on the wall from former President George W. Bush that will read, “These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of America's resolve.”

Shearer said the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” did not prove to be true. The artifact was in storage since early 2011, and she has been asked since about any updates on when it would be moved to the high school.

Shearer still remains overwhelmed when thinking about the time involved to bring the artifact from New York to Connellsville and all the people from Pleasant Trucking and T.A. Nelson Bus Lines, to the school board and the city government, and All Crane Rentals and the local media, that made it possible for the people to step up and help Connellsville be a part of history.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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