Memorials made from pieces of Twin Towers ensure St. Louis area will never forget
The O'Fallon group then visited a New Jersey scrap yard where larger pieces of steel were slated to be recycled.
A salvage yard employee said he'd been saving one particularly striking piece and agreed to donate it to O'Fallon.
"It was kind of a raw feeling looking at it," Griesenauer recalled. "It gave you goosebumps to see steel like a piece of ribbon candy. Looking at it you really understood what it being so bent and warped meant."
A local trucking company donated its services to haul the steel to O'Fallon. The driver told city leaders that people who figured out what his flatbed carried honked at him in support as he drove, Griesenauer said.
When the wreckage arrived, city staff found what appeared to be an office cardigan twisted up inside and smelling like diesel. The city eventually sent the sweater back to New York officials to be catalogued.
"We don't know anything about the sweater, only that it probably belonged to someone who was in the World Trade Center, but it was like a holy relic to us," Griesenauer said.
The first memorial in O'Fallon, featuring 13 tons of the twisted steel, was unveiled in 2003 on the two-year anniversary of the attacks. It sits in the median on Winghaven Boulevard, just north of Highway 40 in O'Fallon.