A piece of the World Trade Center has made its way to Healdsburg, where it could soon become a small memorial in the town plaza.

The portion of a steel "I-beam" from the remains of the 9/11 attack on the twin towers arrived Monday afternoon.

Ben Gilliam, a former Healdsburg firefighter, requested the piece from New York City's Fire Department and arranged for its delivery.

"It means a lot to me. Every city in the country should have a piece of the World Trade Center," Gilliam said Monday after the relic from the terrorist attack was placed into its temporary home — a display case at the Healdsburg Fire Department.

Gilliam is hoping to get city approval to install the metal piece in the Healdsburg Plaza, close to the gazebo and the American flag. It measures a little more than a square foot.

"He'll have to get permission and the right permits to put it in the plaza. I don't think it will be an issue," said City Councilman Steve Babb, a retired Healdsburg fire captain.

Babb was present with a couple of dozen or so firefighters from Healdsburg and Windsor who helped escort the piece into town Monday, complete with a motorcade of four firetrucks and a police car.

"Watching it come down Healdsburg Avenue with the lights just touches my heart," Babb said. "There's a lot of emotion in it."

The piece was transported across the country for free by YRC Freight Co.

"It was quite the honor," said YRC service center manager Tom Gidosh, who accompanied the piece on the final part of its journey from Benicia.

He said it was one of several other remnants of the destroyed World Trade Center that the company has transported to fire departments, including in San Bernardino and Pueblo, Colo.

As a physical reminder of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, that brought down the twin towers, it will honor those who died, including 343 firefighters and 60 police officers who were killed in the Trade Center destruction, Gillian said.

Gilliam, who now works in fire logistics for the Sonoma County Fire Department, said the small monument he wants to create on the plaza is intended to celebrate the lives of all firefighters.

"They do the job whatever the risk is. There is always a fear of not coming home," he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or clark.mason@pressdemocrat.com.