Emblazoned in special red, white and blue wrapping, a Marten Transport big rig is hauling precious cargo from New York City to Hattiesburg, Miss.
Two pieces of twisted steel from the World Trade Center twin towers that fell on Sept. 11, 2001 are on their way to Hattiesburg for ultimate transfer to The University of Southern Mississippi where they will be permanently displayed.
When contacted about transporting the hallowed artifacts, Marten Transport Senior Director of Maintenance David Meyer was on board from the get-go – and at no cost to the city or university.
“As a company we have always prided ourselves with going above and beyond and doing what’s right,” said Meyer. “This was another opportunity to show our mantra and we are very honored to be a part of this 9/11 memorial transport.”
The metal pieces 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. Marten Transport driver Alan McCoury picked up the artifacts from the New York Port Authority on Aug. 25. The trek toward Hattiesburg includes a stop in Atlanta on Sept. 1 for display outside Turner Field during the Braves’ home game against the Washington Nationals.
Meyer said that McCoury, a Marten driver for more than 20 years, is the ideal person to have behind the wheel of such an important delivery.
“Alan is a dedicated employee and a true patriot. He is also part of our exclusive Two-Million-Mile Club,” said Meyer. “He is truly one of the most professional drivers you will ever meet.”
The twin tower remnants are scheduled to arrive in Hattiesburg Friday, Sept. 2. They will be displayed on the front lawn of Hattiesburg Fire Station 1 at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3. Later that afternoon the artifacts will be part of a processional that will travel west on Hardy Street to just outside M.M. Roberts Stadium at Southern Miss. Fans will have an opportunity to see and touch the pieces leading up to a special halftime ceremony in which the objects are transferred from the City of Hattiesburg to the university.
With the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 fast approaching, Meyer stresses the importance of remembering what transpired on that fateful day.
“Our nation was completely stunned from those tragic events, yet as a country we showed great strength and resolve,” he said. “The tragic and senseless loss of innocent lives that day should never be forgotten.”