Hearts of Steel

Pictured is the Hearts of Steel display case at the Benson Memorial Library. The exhibit will be at the library until Oct. 1.

The events that happened on 9/11/2001 are those that have left an impact on our nation. Through the terror, heartbreak and loss, the country was able to come together and put differences aside.

The Benson Memorial Library has been hosting events and putting together exhibits so that our community never forgets that fateful day.

One exhibit, “Hearts of Steel,” gives information on one way the people of Pennsylvania came together to raise money and never forget.

The Hearts of Steel exhibit will be at the Benson Memorial Library until Oct. 1. The exhibit, a display case near the entrance of the library, explains

The Hearts of Steel Project, which sold more than 100,000 bracelets to raise money for the Flight 93 memorial in Stoystown. The project started in 2001, and through it’s eight years, raised $1.1 million dollars for the memorial.

Part of the display includes artifacts on how the bracelets were made. The bracelets originally were made in the Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC), which recently expanded its location to include the University of Pittsburgh-Titusville.

The project became so popular that the MAC couldn’t keep up with demand. The bracelets were then made by Penn United Technologies.

On display is a large piece of steel with the outlines of the bracelets not yet cut, and also the devices used to stamp the 9/11 memorial message on the bracelets. There is also a State Senate Citation recognizing the work put into the project and the great results seen from the sale of the bracelets.

The idea to display these items came from the city roundtable meetings. At the September meeting, the MAC’s Nathan Lucas, when hearing about what the library was doing to honor the 20th anniversary of 9/11, mentioned that they had some artifacts that could go on display at the library.

When the idea was proposed, Jess Hilburn, Executive Director of the library, thought it would be a great addition to the library’s 9/11 remembrance efforts.

According to Hilburn, “9/11 is part of our cultural heritage. Educating cultural heritage is very important.”

Many of the library’s visitors are kids, who were not born when the attacks occurred. Between the items on display, and informative posters from the Smithsonian National Museum just across the walkway, Hilburn said that kids have been curious, wanting to learn more.

“For little kids the posters are at eye-level,” said Hilburn, “They ask questions to their parents which is great. We want to spur that.”

Hilburn said the staff can even hear this happen while sitting in their offices. The posters from the Smithsonian, according to Hilburn, include up to date information and talk about the end of the war on terror and offer “a full scope.”

In addition to the two displays in the main lobby, the library also hosted a 9/11 Remembrance & Firetrucks at the Library. This event allowed kids to learn more about the fateful day, and also interact with emergency personnel.

The library will continue to hold and curate informative displays on cultural heritage. Coming soon may be a series of posters about outer space, full of pictures and information to teach the entire family.

Dvorkin can be reached by email at Gdvorkin@titusvilleherald.com.

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