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World Trade Center beams featured at Whaling Days
KITSAP — What started in 2009 as a letter from Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue Chief Roy Lusk to the New York/New Jersey Port Authority, requesting pieces of steel recovered from the World Trade Center site after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, has turned into plans for a memorial in Kitsap Rotary Park in Silverdale.
A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled this Sept. 11.
“It’s a centralized location. It’s a Navy town. It has the men and women’s ships there that are serving our country, that are being deployed to the (battles) that started after 9-11,” said Todd Best, director of operations for the Kitsap 9-11 Memorial Project.
The public will have two opportunities to see the steel beams during the 39th annual Whaling Days this
weekend: The Lions Grand Parade on Saturday, and in Old Town Silverdale for the remainder of the weekend-long festival.
Although a final design has not been agreed upon by the public, project board members intend the memorial to depict all three places struck by terrorists that day 10 years ago — the World Trade Center, Shanksville, Pa., and the Pentagon — by using the two steel beams from the Twin Towers and a piece of the Pentagon donated to the cause.
“I sat on the design review board with Dave Fergus who is the architect for Rice Fergus Miller Architecture and Planning in Bremerton, and Dave has done a wonderful job at building a beautiful design and I think the community will love what they see when it’s built,” Best said.
Fergus said “We’re optimistic” that the memorial will be unveiled by Sept. 11, 2012.
Taking a lot of time, effort and money, this project is being built solely with donations.
“This project is being 110 percent funded through donations and fundraisers,” Best said. “The taxpayer will not be asked to flip the bill on this at all.”
Best and others have worked hard, hosting live and silent auctions, among other fundraisers, to raise money for the construction and maintenance of the memorial.
“At one fundraiser, we raised close to $20,000 in literally three hours,” Best said. “We’ve done several of these fundraisers since then and they’ve been a real success because of the community. The people in the community have come in numbers to be a part of this. It’s amazing the outpouring of support we’ve had for building this memorial.”
A fundraiser that will also be part of the memorial: 911 bricks, each engraved with a sponsor’s name, family name, or name of a loved one lost on that day. Each brick is $250, which includes engraving and maintenance. First come, first served. Visit www.kitsap911memorial.com for more information.
During Whaling Days, the Kitsap 9-11 Memorial Project will have a booth and project members will be available to answer questions and accept donations.
“We are going to be coming this weekend for the Whaling Days Parade and (will) have an informational booth and we’re going to be taking donations for merchandise that we have. We have a lot of different merchandise that we are (using to raise) money for the building and maintaining of this memorial,” Best said.
Although a real cost cannot be determined until the design is cleared, the organization has raised more than $100,000. “We haven’t even touched the surface of asking for corporate donations. This is just the stuff that we have fund-raised by ourselves,” Best said.
Almost 10 years have passed since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, in which 2,996 people died — 246 on the four planes (there were no survivors), 2,606 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon.
“We don’t want to forget the people who were on the plane that was flown into the field in Shanksville, Pa. We don’t want to forget what took place at the Pentagon when it was attacked and we definitely don’t want to forget what took place at the World Trade Center when all of the rescuers ran in to help those in need. Three hundred and forty three of my fellow NYC fire department brothers perished that day. And countless civilians. We cannot forget. We must never forget.”