During the 9/11 terrorist attacks welders cut out crosses from wrecked World Trade Center beams and placed them on stretchers when first responders were found dead. Tragically, one of those beams now sits veiled in a Princeton firehouse, when it should stand as a public memorial.

Originally Princeton decided not to display the beam due to the threat of lawsuit by an atheist group who found the cross marking offensive. However, when I asked Mayor Liz Lempert why this historic piece of metal sits hidden despite the lack of legal threat today, she couldn't provide a good reason. Hear her justification for the beam's concealment in our conversation below.

According to Lempert, the firehouse is an appropriate place for the beam to reside, as it sits where firefighters see it. Lempert also said she doesn't want to "rush" putting up a public memorial because such a project should do justice to the people who it will represent, and this thought process often takes a lot of time.

Princeton's Former Deputy Fire Chief Roy James then called in to point out that the beam has always been draped under an American flag, rather than a tarp, raising the question of whether Lempert has actually witnessed this structure herself. According to James and another firefighter named Bill, you can check out the beam at the Chestnut Street firehouse, where it's being treated respectfully while awaiting a public home.

James, who is Jewish, said he isn't offended by the beam's cross-cut out. Rather, he views it as a sign of hope. He isn't alone in his perspective either- we heard from plenty of callers who were outraged that Princeton hasn't displayed this piece of history yet.

It comes down to this: we're denying a town that lost eight people to the 9/11 attacks a historical monument that would honor the victims' lives. It's time to free the beam.

Senator Kip Bateman and I have both pledged to make a donation, should someone start a GoFundMe campaign to get the beam made public.

In the meantime, tweet me at @nj1015 and @BillSpadea using the #FreeTheBeam hashtag to help this movement gain traction.

Bill Spadea is host of the Chasing News TV program. He periodically fills in for NJ 101.5 show hosts, and you can daily hear his opinion about all things New Jersey here, or by tweeting @BillSpadea.