FREEPORT – Two 8-foot-long pieces of a steel support beam from an elevator shaft in the north tower of the World Trade Center stood next to the Freeport Public Safety Building on Sunday afternoon, surrounded by a crowd of hundreds.

The monument — a replica of the twin towers, complete with an antenna made out of rebar from the building — was dedicated in a ceremony that capped off three days of events in Freeport commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“I have to say, Freeport really knows how to do a commemoration,” U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told the crowd.

Collins spoke just before 3 p.m. about the significance of the anniversary and about the monument as a symbol for the nation’s resilience during the past decade.

“Standing tall and unconquerable, tested by fire but still strong — that is America,” she said.

Collins’ address was followed by a Masonic cornerstone ceremony. While wind whipped the flags standing around the site, members of the Masons checked to see that the steel structures — installed Monday — were square, plumb and level.

Masons from Freeport Lodge No. 23 were the original recipients of the steel beam, which they donated to the town.

The Maine-based Dunlap Highland Band played a bagpipe rendition of “God Bless America.” Partway through the song, members of the crowd began to sing along and were joined by more and more voices until the end, which was met with applause.

The Freeport Flag Ladies — three women who have been waving American flags on Main Street every Tuesday since Sept. 11, 2001, and who organized most of Sunday’s events in Freeport — then hung a wreath on each of the steel beams, marking the end of the ceremony.

Although some of the crowd dispersed right after the event, many others moved in toward the monument to take a picture, video footage or a closer look.

“It was just a very moving experience,” Mary Blenk, of Cumberland, said about the ceremony. “It was important to be a part of something today.”

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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