In recognition of the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the city of Scottsdale is hosting a free memorial tribute Sept. 7-13 comprised of unique hand-made items to honor the lives lost.
The tribute features the National Unity Flag, photos and videos from 9/11, memorabilia from retired FDNY and NYPD, and supersized props of the Twin Towers, Pentagon, plane wing and large metal flag — made of steel, brass and polycarbonate.
The props being made by Scottsdale Building Maintenance and Construction Services will display a memorial card of each of the 2,996 individuals who lost their life during the attacks. The memorial cards were created and donated by Scottsdale resident Lisa Vella.
The memorial tribute will be at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St., and a special ceremony will be held on Sept. 11, including the readings of the names on the memorial card, and a candlelight vigil.
Putting in hours of work on the props, maintenance worker Andrew Dorame created sketches and prototypes of the items.
“I’ve been working on this solid for only about a week and a half, really,” said Mr. Dorame on Aug. 23, with the looming deadline of installing the items in the performing arts center on Sept. 6.
The seven-man construction crew working on the Sept. 11 memorial items are responsible for the 550 city facilities and 41 parks.
The memorial cards placed on the American Flag will be all of the first responders; the airplane wing will have the names of those lost on the four airplanes; and the Pentagon and Twin Towers will have the names of those lost inside the buildings.
Mr. Dorame put research, time and effort into building the props to represent those lost, he said.
“The Twin Towers, we tried to have something to represent all the people that were lost there and all the actual times,” he explained.
“The original towers actually were a couple of feet different in height so I came up with 18-foot-4 (inches), and sixth-eighths, because the first tower went down at 8:46, and the second tower is going to be 19-feet-3 (inches) because it went down at 9:03.”
Mr. Dorame created the Pentagon replica to be 125 inches in outside diameter to honor the 125 people lost at that site. The plane wing represents United Airlines Flight 93, the fourth plane that went down in a field in Philadelphia.
“I really enjoy it. I like larger projects like this where we can use our creative talents,” said Mr. Dorame. “I think about it a tremendous amount, trying to find a way to incorporate numbers into the construction of it; just trying to honor those people.”
Although a stressful project, the rewarding feeling associated is worth it, Mr. Dorame contends.
“Once everything starts coming together at this phase and we can see everything. We are on a pretty tight time line and it’s getting down to the wire,” he said.
The project was first going to be much smaller in scale, but has grown during the planning phase.
“Originally we were just going to touch up the props that they had, but it ended up being a whole redesign of everything,” explained Mr. Dorame.
The cost is being shared between Scottsdale Fire and Police departments, according to Scottsdale Fire Department Public Information Officer Lori Schmidt.
“We ended up having to rebuild rather than repair, which ultimately is bringing a much more substantial tribute than the original design,” she said.
The exhibition also includes a piece of steel recovered from Ground Zero that will be installed into a piece of framework created by Mr. Dorame to house on a stand.
Ms. Schmidt said the piece of steel that the Scottsdale Fire Department houses was received later than other departments around the county, and that it was one of the last one’s shipped out.
The single square-shaped piece of steel that is about the size of a desktop computer monitor, is too heavy for one person to pick-up, said Ms. Schmidt.
The city has also planned a panel of first responders who were in New York City during and after the towers fell. Also scheduled to speak is Luis Gonzales, retired Arizona Diamondbacks, who will share his thoughts about winning the World Series during that tumultuous time.
“I just thought it was interesting to be able to have a variety of people to share their story,” said Ms. Schmidt.
“Especially with the FDNY guys, they are just normal guys, and they get really nervous if they have to stand up in front of 850 people, so I just thought maybe we can ease that burden.”
Other plans include hanging three large photos — one with the Twin Towers in the skyline; one with the tribute lights shining up into the sky; and one with “the new skyline.”
The reading of the names of those who lost their lives will begin at 2 p.m. in the atrium. The 9/11 remembrance ceremony and candlelight vigil begins at 5 p.m. in the adjacent Virginia G. Piper Theater.
The free memorial will be available for viewing 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and Sunday beginning at noon- to 7 p.m. for the ceremony.
“We hope visitors will experience the overwhelming effect of how many people lost their lives that day,” said Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, in an Aug. 4 press release. “But we also want everyone to remember what came out of the attacks: the spirit of unity, peace and hope. We persevere.”