By Josh Williams and Nicole Bode
MANHATTAN – Now the “Last Column” will last forever.
The lone metal column to remain standing after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center will be preserved permanently with the help of a $200,000 grant, 9/11 museum officials announced Thursday.
“This funding will not only help restore and preserve a collection of tributes to 9/11 victims, but also protect an irreplaceable piece of this nation’s history,” National September 11 Memorial & Museum president Joe Daniels said in a statement.
“We want to ensure this American treasure will be here to share with the rest of the world. The ‘Last Column’ will stand as an enduring marker of the heroic rescue and recovery effort at Ground Zero.”
The Save America’s Treasures grant will allow the museum to keep the massive steel column on permanent display. The 36-foot-tall, 58-ton metal beam had become a magnet for notes, photos and mementos of 9/11 victims before it was removed in 2002.
It remained in a climate-controlled hangar at JFK airport for several years before being returned to the Trade Center site this summer, museum officials said.
The beam will be restored with a steel casing, and is expected to stand on one wall of the museum when construction is finished at the World Trade Center site.
“This potent symbol of 9/11 will become the centerpiece of the Museum and the embodiment of the heroism, bravery and humanity that arose from the ashes of the tragedy,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, (D-Manhattan).