By Geena Martinez
ALPINE - It's hard to believe but the 10 year anniversary of the September 11 attacks is almost here. Now a piece of history has made its home right here in West Texas.
Pass by it and this beam looks like nothing more than a twisted piece of metal. But there's a lot more behind the 1,300 pounds of steel than meets the eye.
"This piece is a piece from the World Trade Center," Deputy Chief, Benjamin Huffman, said. "They think it might be a corner piece but we mostly just speculate where it comes from now."
The Alpine Border Patrol station is now home to this piece of history.
The beam has a significant meaning to all of the agents at this station.
"On September 11, 2001, we were in the process of having a ground-breaking ceremony for the new border patrol station in Alpine, Texas," Huffman said. "Everybody rushed back to their duty stations to prepare for what might be coming. At that time, there was a lot of confusion. No one knew what was going on or what was happening."
Bringing this piece to Alpine was a long process that started with a letter to the New York Port Authority.
"It was a little more difficult than we thought. You just don't go to New York and pick one up. They're very particular about where they give them out to," Huffman said. "It's about a ten month process of explaining what we wanted it for. There's some legal papers back and forth."
After sharing their unique connection to the terrorist attacks, the Border Patrol station qualified to receive the beam.
Last week, two agents picked up the beam all the way in New York City. This is the only piece that will be on display in West Texas.
Huffman said the events of September 11th changed the way they operate.
"Our mission changed somewhat," he said. "We primarily focus on keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country."
He said the beam will serve as a solemn reminder for everyone at the Alpine Border Patrol.
"We feel we have somewhat of an emotional investment in this piece and what it means to us, our agency and this community," Huffman said. "It serves as reminder of the seriousness of our business, what we're doing, what we're looking for and exactly what can happen if we don't do our jobs and do them well."
The Border Patrol will hold a memorial ceremony on September 11 to mark the 10 year anniversary and honor all those that were lost.