By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE - By removing a tree and laying some pavers, the beginning of the new Sept. 11 memorial, featuring an 11-foot piece of steel from the World Trade Center, is on its path to completion in front of the Port St. Lucie Civic Center.
"The team is hard at work," said Gregory Oravec, Port St. Lucie city manager.
The "team" included residents of Port St. Lucie in May when the city asked for input on the design of the project.
Three designs were submitted and residents traveled to the civic center to look them over and vote for their favorite.
From that emerged a memorial that encompasses all three physical locations where tragedy struck on Sept. 11, 2001.
The memorial will be a fountain with a base of green granite to symbolize the grass field where Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.
At first, the base was to be made of grass. But the design was shown all over the United States, and the mother of a victim who died in Pennsylvania pointed out that visitors to the Pennsylvania's memorial are not allowed to walk on the grass. In respect to that memorial's protocol, the memorial here will feature a granite base instead of grass.
On top of that will be a representation of the pentagon. Inside the pentagon will be the footprints of the twin towers. The images of the twin towers were actually designed to scale inside the pentagon.
On top of the towers will be supports that hold up the steel piece.
The steel was brought to the city by Dennis McKenna, president of 9/11 First Responsers, last year. This year, he stood before the cit council and thanked them for their support for the project.
"I want to thank all of (the council) for permitting us to have this beautiful memorial placed in Port St. Lucie," he said.
The memorial will be unveiled during the Sept. 11 remembrance service. With less than 80 days left to construct the memorial, city officials are confident construction will be completed by that time.
To ensure no city dollars will be spent on the memorial, a special account was set up for those who wish to donate to the project. In addition to money, materials for the project or services toward the project can be donated as well.
"We're still on track," said Edward Cunningham, communications director for the city. "Some materials have been donated, while some we have had to purchase. One mother, for example, made a donation for their adult child who witnessed the New York attack first hand."
Anyone interested in donating can call Tonya Taylor, civic center administrator, at (772) 871-5092.