Memorials to 9/11 can be found in big cities, small towns

Postcards
Postcards in Staten Island (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

It’s been 15 years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Despite the passing of the years, the day remains seared in the country’s collective memory.

Every year, communities nationwide pause to pay tribute to and remember the nearly 3,000 people killed that day. In the decade-and-a-half since the terrorist attacks, monuments and memorials have been erected in communities nationwide, and the opportunity to reflect is not limited to a single day.

They range in size from small plaques to large sculptures. They stand in big cities and small towns and in both communities directly affected by the events of Sept. 11 and those that seemingly have no direct connection to the attacks.

Though a precise number of memorials is hard to determine, all are solemn places to pay one’s respects to the nearly 3,000 people who died that fateful day — no matter their size. Here are a few examples.

Postcards, Staten Island

The St. George area of Staten Island, where so many commuters come every workday to hop a ferry to Manhattan, offers one of the best views of the city’s skyline. While new buildings have risen in place of those destroyed 15 years ago, the memory of the Twin Towers that once stood in lower Manhattan remains.

Standing on the banks of New York Harbor near the Staten Island Ferry terminal is Postcards, a pair of 30-foot-tall white marble wing sculptures that frame lower Manhattan. Designed by New York architect Masayuki Sono and built in 2004, the memorial honors 274 Staten Islanders: those killed at the World Trade Center, one passenger killed when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa., and a resident killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

9/11 Flight Crew Memorial, Grapevine, Texas

The 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial grew out of American Airlines Flight Attendant Valerie Thompson’s desire to honor the crewmembers killed on the planes hijacked on Sept. 11: American Airlines flights 11 and 77 and United Airlines flights 93 and 175. Her dream became reality when the monument was dedicated on July 4, 2008.

Based on a design by Bryce Cameron Liston of Salt Lake City, Utah, and sculpted by Dean Thompson, the memorial features bronze sculptures of two pilots, two flight attendants and a child who represents the traveling public. The memorial’s base stands 18 feet tall, and the names of crewmembers on the four flights are engraved on slabs of granite surrounding the base.

First Responders Park Memorial, Hilliard, Ohio

In the heart of Hilliard, a bucolic Columbus suburb, stands what is said to be one of the largest Sept. 11 memorials. First Responders Park Memorial is dedicated to first responders nationwide and aims to remind visitors that no matter where they live, they have a stake in what happened on Sept. 11.

One of the memorial’s features is a trio of granite walls inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives in the attack. In addition, steel from the World Trade Center was incorporated into the memorial.

9/11 Memorial in Arizona, Phoenix

Located at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza near the State Capitol in Phoenix, the 9/11 Memorial in Arizona was unveiled on Sept. 11, 2006. The memorial is often — and perhaps best — described as a “circular plan with a flat inclined metal ring.”

The memorial opened to some controversy centering on a number of quotes engraved into the ring. Among then quotes: “Congress Questions Why CIA and FBI Didn’t Prevent Attacks” and “You Don’t Win Battles of Terrorism With More Battles.”

Todd DeFeo
About Todd DeFeo 77 Articles

Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.