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Design, Location Chosen For Permanent 9/11 Memorial

A rendering shows the view at night of the 9/11 memorial planned in Riverfront Park in Springfield, Ma.
Spirit of Springfield
A rendering shows the view at night of the 9/11 memorial planned in Riverfront Park in Springfield, Ma.

After years of delay and false starts, plans have been unveiled in Springfield, Massachusetts for a permanent 9/11 memorial that will include a piece of steel from the destroyed World Trade Center.

The design selected for the memorial has the 12-foot-long, nearly 3,000 pound steel beam positioned vertically in front of a curved wall that holds the names of the first responders who died as a result of the terrorist attack.  At night, spotlights place shadows of the beam on the wall to symbolize the Twin Towers.

Co-designer Bruce Rosenbaum of ModVic said people will be able to touch the beam.

"We want to make sure there is a physical connection so people can really feel the emotion and the spirit of the piece," said Rosenbaum.  " We specifically wanted to do something that wasn't repetitive. We saw a lot of concepts with the  I-beam in a laying position and we thought that was not respectful. Our concept  has the beam vertical so it is proud and strong."

The memorial will be built in Riverfront Park.  The dedication is planned for September 11, 2018.

Co-designer Sam Ostroff of Salmon Studios said the memorial will respectfully show off the artifact in a visually exciting way.

" You are not allowed to modify the artifact in anyway, so we showcase it using light and shadow in a way that is unique," he said.

The design entitled “Twin Shadows” was selected by a committee that included representatives from the city’s fire and police departments.

Mayor Domenic Sarno was asked his reaction when he initially saw renderings of the proposed memorial.

" Goosebumps," replied Sarno.  "This is going to be very accessible to the public in a solemn place on the riverfront and  memorialize what happened on 9/11."

 The 9/11 artifact has been in storage since 2011 when it was obtained by Spirit of Springfield through a donation program of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  Spirit of Springfield President Judy Matt said several locations were considered for the permanent memorial.

" We went everywhere to try to find the right place and we thought we found it in front of Union Station, until we were told it could not be in front of Union Station," said Matt. " But I think we are now at the best possible place."

Patrick Sullivan, the director of the city’s parks department, said the 9/11 memorial will be incorporated into plans for a $1 million renovation of Riverfront Park that is being funded by MGM Springfield.

" We are  not just placing it somewhere in the city. We  want it here 100,200 years from now," said Sullivan.

More than 2,600 pieces of steel and other items from the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center have been distributed by the Port Authority.  Artifacts have gone to communities in all 50 states and to 10 countries.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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