9/11 Kin, Friends Etch Notes on Tower Beam

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‘With heavy hearts, we miss you …’
by Xana O’Neill

Relatives of 9/11 victims leave written memorials yesterday on steel beam that will form part of Freedom Tower’s foundation.

Private grief turned to public heartache yesterday as friends and family of 9/11 victims etched messages of love and pain on the first steel beam of the Freedom Tower.

“It’s part of history, but yet for each of us, it’s personal,” said Diane Fairben, 55, of Floral Park, L.I., whose 23-year-old paramedic son, Keith, died trying to rescue victims of the terror attack.

“It’s hard grieving so publicly in the context of a historical event,” Fairben said.

The white beam that will form part of the base of the tower is 53.5 tons and stretches nearly 35 feet. But it could barely carry the weight of the memories carefully written in red, silver, blue and black pens, by invitation of Gov. Pataki.

“It’s like therapy. It’s a journal,” said Jane Pollicino, 53, whose eyes welled with tears as she spoke of her husband, Steven, a bond broker who worked on the 104th floor of the north tower…

     

“It’s important for his memory, even if it’s just writing on the beam,” Pollicino said.

Pollicino fixed a picture of her husband to the steel and outlined his name. “Forever in our broken hearts,” wrote Pollicino, of Plainview, L.I.

“With heavy hearts, we miss you,” wrote Firefighter Thomas Russo of Engine Co. 306, who lost 10 close friends on 9/11. “With warm smiles, we remember you.”

Shannon Costello, 12, drew a heart with an arrow through it in thick black marker. Inside, she wrote “Uncle Chuck.” Chuck Costello, 46, had been working on Canal St. on Sept.11, 2001, and ran to the south tower to help free first responders from elevators.

“I miss him,” Shannon said.

Retired Firefighter Ron Parker of Ladder Co. 84 on Staten Island lost 45 friends.

He said the ceremony, which included messages from Gov.Pataki and the building’s architect, Daniel Libeskind, helps families continue to heal.

“This is a very emotional, beautiful gesture for the families, to physically see something wonderful that will happen out of something so tragic,” Parker said.


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