Visitors to the Museum of East Tennessee History will have an opportunity to view special items associated with the “Freedom Engine,” a tribute gift from East Tennesseans to New York City following the events of September 11, 2001. East Tennesseans contributed more than $940,000 to purchase and equip a 95-foot tower ladder truck for Harlem-based Ladder Company 14, helping the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) replenish the largest vehicles in the city's firefighting fleet. The so-called "Freedom Engine," went into service during March 2002 and was dedicated on September 11th of that year.
FDNY typically retires their trucks from regular service after about 10 years. The Freedom Engine went into reserve status in 2013. Upon retirement, several artifacts associated with the truck, including a bucket door, captain's helmet, memorial plaque from the people of East Tennessee, and a presentation plaque containing a piece of World Trade Center metal, were returned to East Tennessee and donated to the East Tennessee Historical Society. These items are currently on display through November 30, 2014, at the Museum of East Tennessee History, along with a video about the project. You may view the exhibit and artifacts online at the ETHS website at www.easttnhistory.org/exhibits/freedom-engine.
The Museum of East Tennessee History is open 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday; 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday; and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Sunday. The Museum is located in the East Tennessee History Center, 601 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37901. There is an admission charge, Monday-Saturday, with each Sunday being Family Day and free to the public. For more information call (865) 215-8830, email eths@eastTNhistory.org, or visit www.easttnhistory.org.