Two pieces of steel from the World Trade Center twin towers were officially transferred from the City of Hattiesburg to The University of Southern Mississippi during a special ceremony held Sunday, Sept. 11 at Reed Green Coliseum.
The ceremony, marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, featured tributes to first responders and a keynote address retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jeff Hammond, associate director of athletics at Southern Miss.
“We should never forget what happened that day. I know I don’t ever want to forget,” said Hammond, who lost two staffers when one of the four hijacked airliners struck the Pentagon. “These metal pieces will hopefully serve as a reminder to all of us that freedom is not free and that we’re all connected in this fight against terrorism.”
The City of Hattiesburg procured the metal artifacts after nearly two years of negotiations with the New York Port Authority. Upon learning that the request had been approved, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree decided that Southern Miss would provide a more fitting home for the historic objects.
The pieces will be permanently housed at Southern Miss’ National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. A fund-raising campaign will be launched to erect a 9/11 memorial, incorporating the metal artifacts, on campus.