You won’t find any names carved in granite at this memorial.
Arizona’s 9/11 memorial wasn’t meant to be a headstone. Instead, “Moving Memories,” as it is called, uses sunlight to illuminate timelines and phrases that capture the true experience of Arizonans on and around the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
It is designed to make sure future generations of children know not just about that moment but about the shock and the fear and the way the nation came together afterward as well.
“My personal hope is that in some way we can get across to people that September 11 and the events that unfolded were this terrible, horrible, tragic time, and also a time when this country came together like I have never seen before,” said Phoenix Fire Capt. Billy Shields, who served as chair of the governor’s 9/11 Memorial Commission. “There were no differences. . . . We were all just Americans, and we wanted to help.”..
Shields talked to The Arizona Republic about what makes it special.
• The memorial incorporates actual relics from the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 crashed. A 2 1/2-foot-long steel beam from the 44th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center sits on a concrete pedestal. Rubble from the Pentagon and a scoop of dirt from the Pennsylvania field are mixed into the concrete. Memorial designers did sun mapping and carved an aperture into the steel above the beam. Once a year, at noon on Sept. 11, the beam will be fully illuminated in sunlight.
• The primary motivation in the design of the memorial was educational. There are timelines not only of Sept. 11, 2001, but of the months and years that followed. Interspersed are phrases to help people understand the emotion of the time. The memorial commission also created curriculums for students in kindergarten through 12th grade that schools can use as learning modules.
• More than 30,000 people were involved in creating Arizona’s memorial. That includes people who participated in a historical study of the time and people who donated cellphones and bought specially made commemorative pins to fund the memorial.
• The memorial is moving and changing as a metaphor to what has happened to the world since the attacks. The memorial is circular with a concrete base. Above it is a steel visor with words cut in the metal. As the sun shines down, light projects the words onto the concrete. At different times of the day and year, different sections of phrases will come into focus.
“We didn’t want a graveyard,” Shields said. “(This) reflects the true experience of Arizonans in and around September 11.”
And here are some sample phrases intended to help Americans understand 9/11.
Presumably the crescent shape has some sort of educational purpose, too.
stikNstein offers some take-offs applied to other American memorials.
The news of this travesty is just starting to receive national attention.