The Spirit of America Memorial is an interactive and educational tribute, honoring both the victims and those who risked their lives during the September 11, 2001 tragedy.
Citizens Helping Each Other:
The Spirit of America 9/11 Memorial recognizes the unprecedented day of terrorist attacks in the US that brought the country together and garnered support from around the world. Nearly 3,000 citizens died, with much of the nation watching live coverage of the horror, as 19 terrorists deliberately crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, another into the Pentagon and a fourth into a Pennsylvania field, the latter having been diverted from its intended Washington DC target. The Memorial thus pays tribute to the 2,606 who died in New York, 125 who died at the Pentagon, 44 who died in Pennsylvania, as well as the thousands of survivors, and all those affected—from emergency workers to citizens—who reached out in the midst of the aftermath with compassion, courage and touching acts of kindness. It is also meant to be a lasting tribute to the men and women who serve our country and for future generations so that we may never forget.
Four Main Concepts:
1. Honoring the spirit of our national heroes:
Because 9/11 was such an important event in our nation’s current history, a considerable amount of reflection, thought and input from many sources was incorporated over a fourteen year period of time in the concept, design and creation of the Memorial located at the Cashmere Riverside Center in the heart of Washington State.
The Spirit of America Memorial is designed to have uplifting symbolism in its narrative of that sad, historic day. It incorporates four life-size bronze statues holding hands in a circle facing outwards with their heads raised up. The lower parts of their bodies are cracked and roughly textured, transitioning to a smoother finish and more details moving upwards towards their faces. The sculpted texture signifies the American spirit of rising above the rubble. Their heads raised towards the sky signifies the pride in our country and the hope for the challenges it faces, while both remembering the past and looking out towards a more peaceful future.
2. Honoring—in an interactive, reflective manner—those who died:
One symbolic figure is missing from the circle of life-size statues, with only two bronze footprints remaining. This pays tribute to those who died and those whose bodies will never be recovered. It also allows the public to interact with the statues by standing on the footprints and grasping their outstretched open hands, thus completing the circle and symbolizing the unity of our nation.
3. Honoring diversity:
The statues represent and honor different genders, races, professions, and every-day citizens who gave their lives unselfishly. They include:
A MILITARY SERVICE PERSON, representing all the services that were affected at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, including those who died and those currently serving;
A FIREMAN, representing the first responders of Police, Security, and Ambulance personnel;
An OFFICE WORKER, representing the managers, secretaries, cooks and maintenance personnel that were the heart and soul of these buildings;
A FLIGHT ATTENDANT, the first victim of 9/11, representing all the crew and passenger victims in the airplanes.
4. Honoring the past and educating the future:
The Spirit of America Memorial also includes an actual historic metal beam section from the former Twin Towers and a stone façade piece from the top of the Pentagon. Both historic artifacts are considered rare because the beam section was one of the last available from the New Jersey metal processing yard; and the Pentagon stone piece was one of the few from the top facade of the Pentagon building. These precious artifacts will be displayed in the circle of sculptures so the public will be able to view and touch them.
The Memorial will thus educate the public and future generations so that our collective consciousness will not forget the tragedy, bravery and spirit of our nation.