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Newton Sept. 11 Memorial Completed; Dedication Set for Saturday [PHOTOS]

The memorial honors eight Sept. 11 victims who had ties to Newton.

Less than a month after starting construction on the site, the Newton Sept. 11 Memorial is finally completed. 

As a way to mark the memorial's completion and honor the local victims killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee will hold a dedication ceremony at the memorial site this Saturday, Nov. 10 at 11 a.m.

“It was my dream to bring this memorial to life,” Committee Chairman Sande Young said in a press release. “We wanted to build something beautiful and enduring in response to the death and destruction of the terrorist attacks.”

The memorial, which is located in front of Newton Fire Headquarters, includes a walkway with engraved bricks displaying personal messages from donors as well as granite steps that have an engraved timeline of Sept. 11, 2001.

The names of the eight victims with Newton ties are also engraved on a granite scroll mounted near the center of the memorial. 

“Between the text that the committee planned and the text that donors contributed, the memorial testifies to our sources of resilience,” Committee member Suzanne Szescila said in the press release. “Messages call for a strong America keeping her citizens and allies safe, while other messages celebrate the ideal of peace.”

The memorial was designed by architect Mark Sangiolo, a former Newton resident who was selected by the committee last year.

Along with the engraved bricks and granite, Sangiolo's design also includes several elements representing the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the flight path of United Airlines Flight 93. A piece of steel from the World Trade Center is also incorporated into the design of the memorial's benches.

The memorial's two pedestals are carved pieces of granite that are Roman numerals for nine and eleven, which can be read on either side as "9/11."

The committee held an official groundbreaking ceremony for the memorial on Sept. 11, 2012, roughly a year and a half after the Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee formed and initiated the fundraising for the memorial site.

Mayor Setti Warren, committee members and personnel from the Newton Police and Fire departments are expected to speak at Saturday's dedication.

A full press release from the Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee is included below:

Newton 9-11 Memorial Dedication Is Scheduled for November 10th in Newton Centre
A Dream Is Realized in Granite and Brick

Newton, MA, November 7, 2012---The Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee will dedicate its memorial on Saturday, November 10, 2012, at 11 am in front of Fire Headquarters at 1164 Centre Street in a brief ceremony at which Mayor Setti Warren and family members of Newton 9-11 victims will speak. The public is invited. The memorial’s outdoor room of granite pavers and benches, with inscriptions on granite and brick, has been a catalyst for local residents wanting to honor those with ties to Newton who were killed by terrorists on September 11, 2001.

The names of the three women and five men, ranging in age from 24 to 60, are engraved on a granite scroll mounted near the center of the memorial. Granite steps leading to the memorial are inscribed with the timeline of the September 11 events. Bricks between the timeline steps are engraved with personal messages from donors.

“It was my dream to bring this memorial to life,” said Sande Young, chairman of the committee. “We wanted to build something beautiful and enduring in response to the death and destruction of the terrorist attacks.”

Young agrees with her Director of Fundraising, Virginia Gardner, that their committee was motivated in part by details of the eight victims lives. They were daughters, sons, fathers, and friends who walked Newton streets and had dreams and plans for the future.

“As we learned more about those who died, we became more inspired to build this memorial,” Gardner said. “And Newton responded generously to our work.”

Local businesses and individuals contributed as early as May 2011 when nearly 30 Newton residents began the committee’s work. They found an early and essential supporter in Mayor Setti Warren. He encouraged the committee and eventually helped it secure the land in front of Fire Headquarters. On one of the memorial’s granite thresholds, set between benches, a message from the Mayor is engraved asking visitors to remember the day, the dead, and our duty “to preserve
America’s greatness.”

Most recently, bricks in two pathways leading to the memorial have been sold and inscribed with patriotic and personal messages. They mourn lives lost and warn of the danger that persists. Anil Adyanthaya, committee secretary, explained:

“The 9-11 memorial is just a short walk from the Newton Centre playground, where there is a memorial to Sarah Philipps, a young Newton resident killed by Libyan terrorists in the 1989 Lockerbie bombing. So, it seems unbelievable that during our memorial’s groundbreaking this past September 11th, terrorists were killing four more Americans in Benghazi, Libya.”

Some bricks say, “Never forget.” Other bricks are inscribed with the names of U.S. soldiers. One brick commands, “Don’t tread on me.” Several bricks name family members and offer tender prayers of hope and love.

“Between the text that the committee planned and the text that donors contributed, the memorial testifies to our sources of resilience,” said Suzanne Szescila, committee board member. “Messages call for a strong America keeping her citizens and allies safe, while other messages celebrate the ideal of peace.”

Another focus of the memorial is those who served on September 11th and thereafter. Text on one granite threshold pays tribute to the hundreds of officers from the New York City Police and Fire departments who rushed into the Towers to save lives.

Such heroism was on the minds of the committee members when they held a design competition in the summer of 2011. Architect Mark Sangiolo, a former Newton resident, won the competition because his design symbolized the three targets of
9-11 and afforded room to honor American values.

The memorial’s two pedestals, supporting its two scrolls, are carved roman numerals for “nine” and “eleven” that symbolize the World Trade Towers. The memorial’s patio with five sides represents the Pentagon, and a darker granite path across the patio symbolizes Flight 93. A small piece of World Trade Center steel, donated by Newton resident Ellen Meyers, is incorporated near two of the memorial’s benches. Accompanying the steel is a plaque asking visitors to “Visualize World Peace.”

In the spring of 2012, members decided to engrave the timeline of 9-11 events on the granite steps leading to the memorial. The first of those steps specifies the terrorists who left the Park Inn in Newton for Logan Airport, where they boarded American Airlines Flight 11.

“The steps lead the visitor into the history of that day,” explained Secretary Adyanthaya, who researched and wrote much of the memorial’s text. “That first step reminds us of the evil that was among us.”

In pursuit of the good, the committee invited chaplains from the Newton Police and Fire Departments to speak at the dedication ceremony. In addition, Chairman Young will read text from a simple Jewish prayer, “In God’s hand is the safekeeping of all spirits: He would not erase our memories.”

This September 11th, before the memorial was built, residents gathered for a groundbreaking and commemoration ceremony at the Newton Centre site. The public will be invited every September 11th to the memorial to honor the dead and mark the significance of that terrible day.

The memorial granite was fashioned and engraved by Westwood Mills of Hingham, MA. Phil Mastroianni Corp., Tree and Landscaping Services of Waltham, prepared the site and built the memorial. Next spring, Mastroianni will complete the memorial with perennial landscaping designed by Susan Sangiolo, landscape architect. Susan and Mark own Sangiolo Associates, based in West Harwich, MA. PaveLok LLC, based in Bow, NH, inscribed the memorial’s bricks.

The Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation founded by Newton residents to raise money for the creation and permanent maintenance of a memorial to the Newton residents and others who died on September 11. For more information about the Committee, its memorial design and text, and its Buy-a-Brick program, please visit www.Newton9-11.org.

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