9/11 Memorial Unveiled On Staten Island
09/10/2004 09:29 PM
Rounding out a long and intense day of events marking the third anniversary of 9/11, a memorial to Staten Island victims was dedicated on the borough's waterfront at the ferry terminal across the harbor from the Trade Center site.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro performed the dedication in honor of Staten Islanders who died in the February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani who attended the ceremony called Staten Island the bedrock of the city.
"The losses you endured on 9/11 both as a borough and individually are unimaginable," he said.
The 40 by 40 foot memorial, which faces Manhattan, is called "Postcards" and includes a shadow-like profile of each victim carved into special granite from Brazil. Family members provided pictures of each victim for the artist to sketch the profiles.
Families of victims, clergy, elected officials and members of the community are all expected to attend the dedication.
Plans for the memorial began back in January 2002, when Giuliani earmarked $$2 million for a tribute to the borough’s victims.
In April of last year, an advisory panel selected six finalists from a pool of 179 submissions, ranging from an arch with glass pillars in the form of the twin towers, to twin lit structures resembling windswept postcards to a massive, wave-like canopy.
By June, the panel selected “Postcards,” by architect Masayuki Sono.
“When the sun sets, it changes to golden, sort of an orange color, and it will be very beautiful,” says Sono.
The memorial did not come without its problems. Families were asked to submit photos of their loved ones so Sono could create a profile to be displayed along with each victim's name and place of work. Some families complained the renderings did not look like their loved ones, so the architect held a series of workshops to address their concerns.
“Now it looks like my son a little,” said Caroline Cordice, who lost her son. “I didn't have any profile pictures of him. He was always smiling, so he was always posing for the camera.”
Once those issues were settled, Sono's team worked around the clock to make sure the memorial would be complete by the third anniversary. It arrived last month on a barge all the way from Newport, Rhode Island, and families eagerly await its unveiling:
“My emotions are high and low,” said Linda Manfredi, whose brother died at the World Trade Center. “It's very exciting to finally see this process come to be a reality.”
Molinaro declared Friday "Masayuki Sono Postcards' Day” on Staten Island, honoring the architect for his hard work on the memorial and praising him for sticking to the aggressive timeline.
“It’s a spiritual design,” Sono said. “It’s up to how it will be used and how it will be received in the community’s heart.”
After the dedication ceremony the mayor, borough president and family members walked through the memorial.
Finally, at sundown, "Tribute in Light", two powerful light beams directed skyward from Lower Manhattan to form a ghost-like image of the twin towers in the sky were illuminated to remain through the night only to fade at sunrise on Sunday.
The memorial lights are visible for miles around. They were first seen six months after the September 11th attacks. They will be lit each year on the anniversary.
The families of the victims started their day Saturday by once again
gathering at the World Trade Center site to grieve and remember.
Parents and grandparents of the 2,749 victims read each name aloud, choking up as they added personal messages when they reached the names of their own loved ones. Other family members embraced each other and wiped away tears.
Soft violin music played in the background as the families descended the long ramp into the site. Two square reflecting pools set up for the ceremony slowly filled up with flowers and other mementos left by the families. As construction proceeds, this will likely be the last time the relatives touch the bedrock, which many of them consider sacred ground because so few remains were recovered.
Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Governor George Pataki and New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy each delivered readings during the ceremony, some quoting from messages to the families of war heroes dating back to the Civil War.
The four-hour ceremony concluded with trumpeters from the Police and Fire departments performing "Taps."
the NYPD held a roll-call of the 23 officers from the department killed in the September 11 attacks
The Fire Department, which lost 343 members in the attacks, also held remembrances at firehouses across the city. Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said firefighters are recovering from the devastating loss.
Following the ceremony at the trade center site, the Port Authority, which built the World Trade Center and lost 84 employees in its destruction,
held its annual service nearby
. The first two anniversaries it was held uptown in Riverside Church, but this year it moved downtown to St. Peter’s Church. Throughout the day, the church will tolled a massive bell once every 10 seconds for a total of 3,000 times in honor of the victims.
The September 11 anniversary was also observed around the nation. President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, along with Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne, observed a moment of silence on the White House lawn after attending a prayer service at nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held at Arlington National Cemetery, and a moment of silence was marked the time the third hijacked airliner struck the Pentagon, killing 184 people.
At the field in Pennsylvania where the fourth plane crashed after passengers fought back against the hijackers, relatives mourned the 40 people who died there. A wreath was laid at the crash site, and a bell tolled as each victim’s name was read. A design competition was also announced for a permanent memorial at the site.
For comprehensive online coverage of the third 9/11 anniversary, as well as a schedule of NY1's live coverage of Saturday's commemorative events, see
NY1.com's special WTC Section
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