Saturday, February 17, 2007

Exhibit Celebrates Mohawk Ironworkers Who Helped Build the World Trade Center

Picture credit and 2002 story about a New York exhibit that celebrated Mohawks who built the World Trade Center:

"In tribute to Mohawk skills and bravery in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the National Museum of the American Indian is presenting a photo exhibit about their precarious vocation and rich history, compiled from archives and snapshots of ironworkers on the job.

...Mohawk Ironworkers build New York refers to the transient lifestyle of these Native Americans, who travel from their reservations in upstate New York and southern Quebec to do structural steel work on skyscrapers, power plants, stadiums, arenas and bridges in New York and elsewhere.

Starting in 1916, when they built the Hell's Gate Bridge on the East River, Mohawks have worked on every major building project in New York City, including the George Washington and Verrazano Narrows bridges, the Empire State Building, United Nations and Madison Square Garden.

Mohawks are pictured in hard hats at the World Trade Center guiding steel beams into place and using rivets and bolts to assemble the frame. Hundreds of them worked on that project in 1966-74.

A younger generation was toiling at building sites in Lower Manhattan when two hijacked airliners sliced into the Twin Towers on Sept. 11. In one photo, Herby Kirby faces the camera while, over his shoulder, smoke pours from the North Tower minutes after the first plane struck.

Among Mohawks who built the 1,360-foot towers, their destruction and the deaths of more than 2,800 people evoke sadness and bewilderment.

David Rice, 52, who got his start there as an ironworker apprentice in 1969, said he averted his gaze from the smoky void on the skyline after the attack.

I didn't even want to look, he said. I still don't like to think about it.

Rice has an arresting photo of himself standing atop the South Tower in September 1971--exactly 30 years before the disaster. He is balanced on a 10-inch girder at the 110th floor, empty space all around him.

Rice's own snapshot of the last girder being hoisted on a cable up the face of the World Trade Center is in the exhibit. The girder was signed by the Mohawks in an old ironworker tradition."

I posted an earlier article about Indian reactions to 9-11 here.


Blogger Magal Engineering said...

Thanks for sharing, it's a nice post.You can also read here, Iron Workers in India

6:25 AM  

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