By KAREN MATTHEWS
NEW YORK (AP) - A piece of World Trade Center steel is being molded into an angel in the memory of a girl who was born on Sept. 11, 2001, and died in a barrage of gunfire in the Jan. 8 shooting rampage that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The 5 1/2-foot-long fragment of an I-beam was picked up from a hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday and will be trucked to Arizona in time for an April 1 dedication ceremony. The Freedom's Steadfast Angel of Love statue will incorporate artifacts from the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., sculptor Lei Hennessy-Owen said.
The angel honoring Christina-Taylor Green will stand 9 feet, 11 inches tall. The steel from the twin towers was donated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site.
"We just wanted to do something to kind of help them heal, let them know that we're going to try to support them through their grief," said Hennessy-Owen, who has created angel sculptures at the three 9/11 crash sites and other locations across the country.
She said some family members of Sept. 11 victims plan to attend the dedication.
Christina-Taylor was 9 years old, the youngest victim of the January shooting, which left six people dead and 13 wounded. Her birth on the day of the worst terror attack in the nation's history and her death in another unspeakable act of violence made her an enduring face in the Tucson tragedy, generating a tremendous outpouring of sympathy in Arizona and around the country.
Donations to her memorial fund came in from 10 countries and 43 states in the first month after the shooting alone.
Her statue will be installed at James D. Kriegh Park in Oro Valley where she played Little League baseball, and dedicated at the opening day ceremonies of the Canyon del Oro Little League.
Christina-Taylor's relatives said she was "so proud" of being on the Pirates Little League team. They said it means a lot to them to know "there will be an angel in the outfield watching over" the Little League.
"That this angel would be made from the remnants of the 9/11 attacks makes this tribute especially touching," the family said in a prepared statement. "Christina-Taylor wanted to be a symbol of hope for those touched by our nation's great tragedy on 9/11, the day she was born."
Christina-Taylor was featured in a book called "Faces of Hope," which chronicled a baby from each state born on the day terrorists hijacked airplanes and used them to kill nearly 3,000 people.
She had told her parents she wanted to attend Penn State and have a career that involved helping those less fortunate. She was the only girl on her Little League team and played second base.
Her father is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and her grandfather Dallas Green is a former manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Many of the tributes for her have contained a baseball or Sept. 11 theme.
A park and a Little League field in Tucson have been renamed in her honor. A T-shirt patch with her initials on a baseball and an American flag and twin towers in the background has become a popular purchase across the country. The Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks played a charity game in Tucson that honored her.
At her funeral in January, family and friends gathered under an enormous American flag recovered from ground zero.
Hennessy-Owen said the statue honoring her will incorporate, besides World Trade Center steel, a 3 1/2-foot-long piece of steel from the Pentagon and a large rock from the Flight 93 crash site.
The sculptor said she will be part of a convoy taking the materials to Arizona.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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