Charred, twisted clumps of steel left over from the World Trade Center attacks are being sent to thousands of fire departments, police departments, and cities around the US for memorials to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, reports Reuters. "These serve as centerpieces of history for towns all over the country," said an official with the Port Authority of New York, which, together with the Port Authority of New Jersey, owns the steel remains. "The public will have access to this piece of history displayed with honor, dignity and respect."
Most of the 12,000 pieces already have been given away, and officials at the port authorities say they hope to have most of the rest distributed soon. "People have short memories," said a New York firefighter. "If it raises public awareness, even after 10 years, then it's great." Some of the steel has gone to other purposes, too—seven tons were used to build the Navy's USS New York, and some went to a memorial to Christina-Taylor Green, the girl who was born on Sept. 11, 2001, but was killed in the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords.