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New England News

City Accepts Gift Of 9/11 Monument From Nonprofit

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WAMC
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   A 9-11 monument built with private funds and put in a public park has been turned over to the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.

   The monument, which features an artifact in the form of a steel I-beam from the World Trade Center and a bronze wall inscribed with the names of 498 first responders who died on September 11th, 2001, has been gifted to the city by Spirit of Springfield.

     Speaking at a City Hall ceremony Tuesday, Melinda Phelps, the chair of nonprofit organization’s board of directors, said she was “pleased and proud” to present the monument to the city.

    "This memorial is not just a tribute to those first responders who lost their lives on that very tragic day in our nations history, it is also a tribute to the city of Springfield and its residents who donated money and had a vision to get this project done," said Phelps.

     The monument, which sits along the Connecticut River in the newly renovated Riverfront Park, has been on public display since a dedication ceremony last June.   Spirit of Springfield raised $300,000 to have the monument built.

      "I want to thank the many donors who reached into their pockets -- hundreds and hundreds of people who gave large and small donations-- and the business community who made this possible," said Phelps.

     Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, who was joined by Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and Fire Commissioner Bernard Calvi to accept the monument on behalf of the city, said the transfer ceremony is a chance to acknowledge the individual benefactors and philanthropic business community who made it possible for the city to have the monument.

       "Now we are moving close  to 20 years since ( the terrorist attacks on 9/11)  occured and there are people who were not born at the time who don't realize what occured is something each of us will never forget  and it is appropriate that we honor those who perished, especially our first responders," Sarno said.

      The creation of the permanent 9-11 monument in Springfield was almost a decade in the making.

       Spirit of Springfield received the World Trade Center artifact on September 8th, 2011.  For years it remained in storage out of public view.   In 2016, the design for a memorial incorporating the steel beam was unveiled by Salmon Studios of Northampton.

       Several locations for the monument were considered including Forest Park and Union Station with the spot in Riverfront Park chosen in 2018.

      Springfield parks director Pat Sullivan said it was the plan from the beginning to have the city take ownership of the monument and assume the cost to maintain it, which he said is “minimal.”

     " We are honored to have this on park property," said Sullivan.

      Sullivan said the new monument has become something of a tourist attraction.

     "We've gotten emails and phone calls from people saying 'thank you for doing this in your city', people from out-of-town, who took the time to call to say they really appreciated being able to visit it," said Sullivan.  "People touch the beam and they feel part of it."

      The monument is now the site for Springfield’s annual memorial ceremony held on Sept. 11th.

   

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