Newton’s 9/11 Memorial is a place to seek solace and remember the victims of the attacks
It all started with a quick sketch.
Ten years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Sande Young, a resident of Newton, was reading about the creation of the Acton memorial which would incorporate pieces of steel recovered from the destroyed Twin Towers in New York. She immediately thought, “We need this too” and drew a picture of her idea for a Newton memorial.
Neither Young nor two other key contributors to the city’s 9/11 memorial – resident Ginny Gardner and architect Mark Sangiolo – personally knew those killed in the attacks, but they were all determined to honor those who were lost. That day.
Having no experience working on such a project like this, Young reached out to people, including Gardner, to begin fundraising and plan to create a space where people could reflect on the tragedy.
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“I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” said Young, who continued with the project nonetheless.
As a private, non-profit organization, the Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee was able to raise $ 72,000 for the memorial and its maintenance.
After much debate over the location – including whether to locate it next to Town Hall – then-mayor Setti Warren and then-fire chief Bruce Proia, agreed that the group could build the memorial on the lawn of the Newton Center fire department headquarters.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, including Newton residents whose names are inscribed on the granite, mourners will once again gather there in remembrance.
Find the right vision
“I wanted to [the memorial] tell the whole story of the day by watching it, ”Gardner recalls.
For the volunteers working on the project, “it was all-consuming, day and night,” Young said.
After informing all the Newton families whose loved ones were killed on 9/11 about the memorial plans, Young said people had had varying reactions, with some finding it too disturbing even 10 years later to be directly involved. Today, 20 years later, some of those same families still cannot bear to attend the remembrance ceremony, while others participate almost every year.
In order to bring the committee’s vision to life, members solicited pro bono design work and held a competition for the winning design, which former resident Mark Sangiolo won in an almost unanimous vote.
Symbolism in every piece of granite
Although Sangiolo had never designed a memorial before, he knew he wanted the design of 9/11 to be “something that moves people,” he said in a telephone interview.
Sangiolo was hit when a Newton firefighter spoke out in favor of his design over the other attendees.
When his entry was chosen, he said “It was touching” to him.
After inaugurating the land on September 11, 2012, his vision came true soon after with the completion of the memorial.
“It’s a low memorial. … It’s very contemplative, ”he said.
The two sculptures in the shape of “IX” and “XI” (the Roman numerals for “9” and “11”) represent the Twin Towers of New York. The overall design is a pentagon, to represent the attack on Washington, DC. Finally, a darker strip of granite on the ground represents the flight path of United Airlines Flight 93, the plane that crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa., After passengers battled the pirates of the air.
Sangiolo said he was happy that resident Ellen Meyers donated a piece of steel from the Twin Towers she received from a New York firefighter, to be incorporated into the design.
“It’s a direct link,” he says.
The granite is inscribed with the timeline of the terrorist attacks and quotes from politicians and a poet. One pedestal features the following quote: “On September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks killed nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children. The people of Newton, Massachusetts established this memorial as a place to remember the neighbors we have lost and to honor those who served that day and beyond.
The second pedestal lists the Newton residents who were killed: Mark Bavis, Paige Farley-Hackel, Nicholas Humber, Aaron Jacobs, Stuart Todd Meltzer, Richard Barry Ross, Rahma Salie, and Amy E. Toyen.
Although Sangiolo said he had never heard what the families of the victims thought about the memorial, he said: “I hope they like it.”
Newton’s 20th anniversary ceremony of September 11, 2001
The Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee and the City of Newton will hold their annual commemoration at the Newton 9-11 Memorial, 1164 Center St., on the lawn of the Newton Center Fire Department Headquarters on Saturday, September 11, at 6 a.m. midday
To purchase an engraved brick or make a donation to support the on-going maintenance of the memorial, you can do so through the website (https://newton9-11.org/) or send a tax-deductible check payable to the Newton 9-11 Committee to: Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee, c / o Jan Huffman, Treasurer, 27 Indiana Ter., Newton, MA 02464-1314.