Last 3 artifacts from 9/11 World Trade Center attacks moved from JFK Airport hangar

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
EMBED <>More Videos

Tim Fleischer has the story.

SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, Queens (WABC) -- The last three artifacts from the September 11th attacks were moved Tuesday from an airport hangar at JFK to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

They had been in storage for nearly 15 years.

Led by an honor guard paying the highest respect, the last three large artifacts from the World Trade Center disaster, draped in an American flag, were taken from the large hangar.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is now taking charge of them in honor of those lost.

"These sacred, sacred artifacts, and that's how we will treat them," said foundation chairman Frank Siller.

For the last 15 years, Hangar 17 at JFK Airport has been the repository for thousands of artifacts from the World Trade Center site, from the smallest pieces to the largest and last to be moved.

"It served as a national gateway to send artifacts to all 50 states and to several countries," said NYPD Chief of Citywide Operations Thomas Purtell.

Now the three pieces will be temporarily stored for future exhibition.

"We want to be able to partner with some big museums around the country and set up more permanent exhibits that will be in an area for six months to a year," said foundation COO John Hodge.

The foundation already operates a "Never Forget" mobile exhibit touring the country and is seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

"It's important for our country not to forget what happened on that day and we have taken on that responsibility," said Siller.

A 40,000 pound TV antenna base from the North Tower holds special significance to WABC and Eyewitness News.

Don DiFranco, a broadcast engineer at the station, was killed along with five other engineers in the North Tower.

Another piece is a 35,000 pound elevator motor and a 40,000 pound parking structure column. Other pieces of steel have been used for monuments and ships.

"These special artifacts provide us hope, and that hope is seen in the new fire boats we made," said FDNY Assistant Chief Joseph Pfeifer.

And to educate a new generation. "And bringing the message of 9/11 and who the heroes were, and what they did that day to a whole new group of people," said Hodge.