October 24, 2014  

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Southern Miss, City of Hattiesburg Partner on National 9/11 Memorial Project

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Metal artifacts from the collapsed World Trade Center twin towers will become part of a permanent memorial at The University of Southern Mississippi thanks to a special arrangement with the City of Hattiesburg.

Two pieces of twisted steel, secured by the City of Hattiesburg, will be transported from New York City to Hattiesburg in time for an official transfer to the university at halftime of Southern Miss’ football season opener against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 3 at M.M. Roberts Stadium. The fragments are described as cut steel wall spandrel measuring 72 inches in length by 12 inches wide and 1-inch thick. Each piece weighs approximately 200 pounds.

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree made a request on the city’s behalf for artifacts from the demolished World Trade Center almost two years ago. After receiving notification that the request had been approved, DuPree decided that the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety (NCS4) and Security at Southern Miss would serve as the appropriate home to honor the memory of those who perished and those who survived the attacks.

“The tragedy of 9/11 may have left a scar on the hearts of all Americans but the spirit that binds us together is stronger than ever,” said DuPree. “I urge all citizens to join us at Roberts Stadium on September 3 and on the 9/11 Day of Service to commemorate the sacrifice of many and celebrate those who have given their lives in service to our country. The time is now to serve; the time is now to honor.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A little more than 2,800 people died on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four U.S. commercial airplanes and redirected them on suicide missions.

Southern Miss President Martha Saunders will accept the pieces on behalf of the university during the halftime ceremony.

“It is an honor to accept this gift on behalf of the university,” said Saunders. “It will serve as a constant reminder to us of the resiliency of the human spirit and the ultimate sacrifice so many have made to keep us safe.”

Dr. Lou Marciani, NCS4 director, said plans call for the university to initiate a fundraising campaign to erect a fitting memorial that will serve as a reminder to those attending sporting events at Southern Miss and around the world that the National Center is committed to the priority of making sport venues safe and secure.

“The idea is to create a memorial that will not only make members of the campus community proud but anyone who visits the site,” said Marciani. “The events of 9/11 were a major impetus in the creation of NCS4 and we at the national center are honored to be part of this special project.”

Established in 2006, the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security was created to provide an interdisciplinary academic environment to further increase sport security awareness, improve sport security policies and procedures and enhance emergency response through evacuation, recovery operations and crowd management training.