On June 16, a monument constructed from pieces of the World Trade Center was removed from a foreclosure auction list in Salem, Virginia. The decision to remove the monument came after activists called media attention to the proposed auction. Activists included relatives of deceased New York firefighters and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.
The monument features two steel beams from Tower One (the north tower) of the original World Trade Center, and measures 38 feet tall. The structure’s previous possessor, John Fletcher Smoak, was the owner of the foreclosed business. He purchased the World Trade Center pieces as scrap metal after the events of 9/11 and constructed his own memorial honoring those who lost their lives. The monument weighs 14,000 pounds and is topped with an American flag.
Family members of first responders and Sen. Schumer spoke out against plans to auction the monument, calling it “sickening” and “disgraceful.” The New York Post reported on the efforts of the activists and Sen. Schumer, and was credited by the monument’s previous owner for raising awareness of the sale and ultimately bringing it to an end.
Following the backlash and news media attention, Motleys Asset Disposition Group, the company in charge of the foreclosure auction, announced that the monument would no longer be sold off. It will instead be donated to the city of Salem and included in a local park, where it will continue to honor fallen victims.
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