‘Devastating’ World Trade Center Steel Memorial Honors 22 Killed in Terror Attacks
– September 12, 2013 10:10 am
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Four steel beams from the ill-fated World Trade Center in New York City finally have a resting place in Prince William County.
Two years after arriving to much fanfare in the county from a junkyard in New Jersey, the rusted beams have been erected at a county government center in Woodbridge to form a sculpture. Three of the beams lean in on each other while a fourth stands erect, all on cement bases rooted 6-feet in the ground.
Illuminated from the ground and easily seen from Prince William Parkway, more than 200 people Wednesday came to dedicate the sculpture on Sept. 11 — the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
“It’s a lot bigger than I anticipated, and it brings closure to people who wouldn’t have it otherwise,” said Karin McKnight, of Lake Ridge.
At 22-feet tall, the beam sculpture stands as a new memorial to honor the 22 Prince William County residents who died during in terror attacks. Across from the beams at a memorial dedicated in 2006 sits a reflecting pool in the shape of a pentagon, with two columns of water shooting up representing the twin towers, all surrounded by Pennsylvania Flagstone .
Devoid of the usual lengthy speeches from politicians and dignitaries, Wednesday night’s memorial dedication ceremony was short and somber. The names of the 22 victims were read aloud and then a bugler played taps.
For Diane Simpson-Java, the wife of Dumfries Volunteer Rescue Squad member Jeff Simpson who ran to help victims at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and never returned home, the sight of the steel beams was unnerving.
“For us to spend this amount of money, and for them to bring these beams so close to my neighborhood, these beams very well could have crushed my husband to death and nobody seemed to care what I thought of it,” said Simpson-Java.
A constant reminder she rather not see, Simpson-Java will pass by the beams each day when she travels to and from her home. The widow attended Wednesday’s dedication because Simpson’s name was read aloud in remembrance.
The inspiration behind the memorial’s design came from a newspaper photograph taken following the collapse of the trade center that depicted the remaining twisted steel beams that stood at ground zero.
“That photograph showed the results of the steel after it came down, and the shapes of the steel interacting the with the sky came the formation of the design concept,” said Memorial Architect Martin Santini, of Cresskill, N.J.
More will be added to the $250,000 memorial, including a square concrete base representing the footprint of one of the World Trade Center towers and 22 burning bushes to represent the victims from Prince William County.
“The monument behind you is raw, is stark, is devastating, it stands to remember the brutal and murderous act perpetrated against America and its people. It stands as a testament to all those who keep us, to keep all of America secure,” said Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.