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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Kahnawà:ke Ironworkers "Top Off" the new One World Trade Center
a.k.a. the Freedom Tower
by Regan Jacobs -
They built them in the early 70s, they were there to pick up the pieces when terrorists knocked them down, and they were there last Friday to top off the newest tower. Once again, Kahnawà:ke ironworkers put the finishing touch, an antenna piece, on top of the new World Trade Center in New York City. Third generation ironworker, John McGowan, was there to help build the 1,776 foot "Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the western hemisphere. McGowan helped set up cameras on the cranes that sit on top of the building for the media to capture the event.

"I worked on the building for four years," said McGowan. "It was a great honour to bring back the height to New York." McGowan was also there in 2001 when the towers fell due to 9/11, and to remove the wreckage that was left behind. "It was very sad. Families would come to the site still searching or asking questions. There's a lot of things that the media never showed that were horrific." McGowan says he had taken several pictures in the days following 9/11 and three are currently in the Smithsonian museum.

McGowan started working on the building on the third floor, four years and 110 floors later they finally finished. "We have about three weeks left says McGowan, who will also be going back to do finishing work.

Although the topping off is done, the building still has about another year of work before it opens.

Preston Horn, Adam Cross, Randy Jacobs, Joe Flo McComber, Tyler McComber, Louie Cross, Marvin and Keith Brown some of the guys from Kahnawà:ke, Peter Jacobs from Akwesasne, Turhan Clause a Tuscarora living in Onondaga. According to McGowan this was the "Indian" gang that worked on the skyscraper.

According to McGowan, the building specifics are top secret and the job had high security. When McGowan was asked his opinion on the scenario.. "IF a plane ever hit it again"… would it fall? McGowan answered no, but says that things were obviously done differently in the engineering, but it's very hush.

The beam that went in place at the exact height of the former twin towers was signed by President Barrack Obama. According to McGowan, the 68 ton antenna that topped off the tower last Friday, passed right by Kahnawà:ke on the back of a ship last October.

The Twin Towers or World Trade Center was knocked down by terrorists after two planes were hijacked and slammed into each tower on September 11th, 2001. Two other planes were hijacked the same day, one hit the Pentagon and the other was forced into a crash by passengers and ended up in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 2,753 people lost their lives that day. During and after 9/11, the media reported that many retired ironworkers were shocked and in disbelief that this could happen on a building they helped construct.

Many Kahnawà:ke ironworkers worked on the original World Trade Center that opened in 1973 and currently there are nearly 20 men from the community working on that job site.

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