Jerusalem to dedicate first 9/11 memorial with names outside U.S.
The first part of a new five-acre memorial plaza for the September 11, 2001 terror attacks will be unveiled this Thursday in Jerusalem.
A 30-foot high bronze sculpture depicting a waving American flag transforming into a flame will be the first memorial outside New York that lists the names of the 2,974 people killed that day, as well as their 92 countries of origin.
The sculpture, located in the capital's Arazim Valley, in the Ramot neighborhood, rests on a gray granite base, part of which was taken from the original Twin Towers and donated by the New York municipality.
"It'll be a plaza that can hold up to 300 people, a place that prime ministers and ambassadors who come into the city will have to stop for to lay a wreath and say a prayer," said Russell Robinson, CEO of the Jewish National Fund, which built the site for more than $2 million, donated by American philanthropists.
"The whole monument really tells the story of 9/11," Robinson told Anglo File. "The plaza itself doesn't quite look like a pentagon, but the idea of the base of it is the Pentagon. It's a little bit indented into the earth, to depict the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. And it has the sculpture in the middle that depicts an American flag in flames, which [represents] the Twin Towers."
The 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza (surrounding the 30-foot bronze sculpture) was donated by the Bronka Stavsky Rabin Weintraub Trust.
A personal touch
"It seems that it would be a very moving memorial, especially the actual [material] that was once part of the World Trade Center," said Henry Fuerte, who was on the 78th floor of the north tower when it was hit by a plane on September 11, but got out. "The names do give it a very personal touch and it will bring back memories for me because I knew quite a few people on that list very well."
Fuerte, who immigrated here in 2005 and believes two other survivors live in Israel today, says he thinks actions to prevent another attack would speak larger than a memorial.
"The greatest monument for the victims and survivors is for Israel to return to the policy of not negotiating with terrorists," he said.
The memorial has been planned since 2002, Robinson said.
"There was a group of people who wanted to do something, to reach out and to show the values of American and Israelis share, and that Israel shares with all victims of terror."
After JNF's Israel staff had found a location and commissioned an artist - Israeli sculptor Eliezer Weishoff -they had to clear a number of environmental hurdles. They eventually ended up moving the memorial 200 yards to accommodate gazelle migration pathways.
New York resident Ed Blank, whose wife died a few days before the attacks, donated the sculpture.
"I was looking for a meritorious way to give recognition to this convergence of feelings I was having, and this memorial was the perfect fit," he said.
The sculpture will be unveiled on November 12 at 12:30 P.M. with American Ambassador James B. Cunningham and several U.S. congressmen in attendance at the event.