Marfa, Texas - Two Alpine Station Border Patrol agents drove to New York City and back last week to pick up a twisted steel beam to be used as part of a memorial commemorating the attacks of 9/11.
The beam was part of one of the destroyed buildings and was being held by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
In late 2010 Assistant Patrol Agent in Charge (APAIC) Lewis Reynolds saw a news story about the availability of artifacts to community groups providing their application was approved by the port authority. He, along with others from the Alpine, Texas Station, received permission and then filled out the application. After their application was approved they received a scheduled pickup date.
APAIC Reynolds and Supervisory Border Patrol Agent David Marshall drove a stake bed truck to New York City to pick up the remnant. They arrived back in Alpine August 6 and were escorted through the community by a solemn procession of law enforcement vehicles. The round trip covered 4,334 miles.
"The display of this symbol at the Alpine Station will forever be significant," said Marfa Sector Chief Patrol Agent John J. Smietana, Jr. "In spite of the terror of the moment, a great number of law enforcement officers, fire fighters and others continued to do their jobs with the 'last full measure of devotion.' This simple metal beam will be displayed as a reminder of their courage and sacrifice."
The beam will be installed as part of a memorial display on the front lawn of the Alpine Border Patrol Station on Highway 90 west of Alpine. The memorial will be accessible by the public during the daytime once it has been installed.
Plans are underway for a dedication ceremony to be held on September 11, 2011, at the station.
Ironically, the groundbreaking ceremony for the current station was held on the morning of September 11, 2001.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.