Support the memorial

FI-EditorialThe plans to build a memorial to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and place it as a centerpiece of a newly refurbished Cos Cob Park have been a long time in the making and they deserve our strongest support.

Greenwich is one of many communities that was impacted directly by the attacks, and for the families of the 32 people killed who either lived in this town or had a close connection to it, the wounds will never truly heal. Each year Sept. 11 will never be just another day on the calendar, and it makes absolute sense that a memorial be here, not just for the families but for anyone who lives in town or simply wants to come to Greenwich to reflect on the impact of that terrible day.

The effort to build that memorial has been going on for some time, and since last fall it has truly had momentum. The often difficult town land use board approval process is behind it, and with unanimous support from the Planning and Zoning Commission (something that’s never easy to get) it now has all the approvals it needs to be built. But in order for the memorial to go forward it needs the support of everyday citizens.

A fund-raising effort is ongoing for building the memorial, which will be part of the park in an understated, natural way. Finding the location for the memorial has been the most difficult challenge this project has faced, with some prospective locations deemed too inaccessible (Greenwich Point) and others too noisy (Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, thanks to its proximity to Interstate 95). But Cos Cob Park will be the perfect location for it. It will offer the chance for quiet reflection, and because it is located close to Long Island Sound on a hill, it will also provide a magnificent view.

The design itself is simple but wonderful. The minds at Charles Hilton Architects have put together something that is quite striking. The memorial will consist of two glass towers, representing the World Trade Center, with the American flag carved subtly into the glass. The names of the 32 local victims of the attacks will then be carved within the stripes of the flag. The families of the local victims have universally embraced this idea and it will be something Greenwich can be proud to have here.

It all sounds tremendous, and with the site in place plus the town approvals granted, there’s really only one thing left to do. And that’s where Greenwich residents may step in. The Greenwich Community Projects Fund is leading the effort on this, and its intention is to turn the project over to the town as a gift once it’s complete. But what’s needed right now is financial support to make this vision a reality.

The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) will need to formally accept the gift, and without full funding, that likely won’t happen. So people are being asked to help with donations both large and small. Many people have already stepped up but more is needed. The goal is to raise $550,000 to pay for the memorial and have a contingency to cover overruns. So far, $220,000 has been raised and more is obviously needed with the key RTM meeting looming in June.

That doesn’t give a lot of time, but Greenwich has shown that it is ready to step up to support worthy projects. This is something that deserves that support to help keep the meaning of that day and the memory of the victims alive. This memorial will be an asset for the town and it’s up to us to make sure it happens.

People can help by visiting Sept11memorialgreenwich.org, and they should, because this is a project we should all be happy to turn into a reality.

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