9-11 memorial planners need help to make vision a reality

Organizers of a 9-11 memorial in Prince William County have a good idea of the elements they want to use in the tribute.

It will have a pentagon-shaped base to honor those who died at the Pentagon during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. It will have two tall fountains to honor those who died at the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. It will use Pennsylvania flagstone to honor those who died on United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.

It will have a reflecting pond and around it will have inscribed names of the 21 Prince William residents who died that day. The memorial will also include a written explanation describing the symbolism of each of the elements.

Now the members of the Liberty Memorial Committee need someone to put these concepts together on paper.

“We have a very rough draft of what we want,” said Janet Ellis, chairman of the 14-member committee. Ellis also is executive director of the Prince William Clean Community Council. “What we need now is a presentation drawing.”

The volunteer committee has been working on creating a 9-11 memorial for a little more than a year. It is composed of representatives of various interested groups, as well as individuals including two family members who lost a loved one in the terrorist attacks.

Last summer, the group put out an invitation for memorial designs and received about a dozen. While no one drawing exactly depicted the solemn and reflective tone the members were looking for, one came close. With some modification the rough draft was agreed upon, Ellis said.

“We need the presentation drawing to move forward,” Ellis said. The drawing would be used to show others in fund-raising efforts, as well as a starting point for engineering and design. Ellis invites anyone with construction and architecture expertise to volunteer to help.

“It also could come from the education community from [Northern Virginia Community College] or George Mason University,” Ellis said.

A desire for a memorial has been expressed by individuals and groups across the county area. Additionally, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors voiced its hope in seeing that a memorial was constructed to honor its citizens who were lost.

Aside from agreeing on a rough draft of the design, the Freedom Memorial Committee also has found a location. “It was important to us to find a location where we knew it would have perpetual care,” Ellis said.

The grounds of the McCoart Administration Center, the county’s administrative complex on Prince William Parkway, was the site chosen. Ellis stressed that the effort to construct the memorial is community-wide and she believes that it will be supported. “We could have gone out and raised money to hire an architectural firm to design it, but we wanted it to come from the community,” Ellis said.

Along with the presentation drawing, the group also is soliciting help from the community to develop a measured drawing, fountain design, foundation design, construction document and cost estimate.

As with the community-wide plea for professionals to donate their services, the committee plans to ask for donations the same way to include corporate groups and penny drives from school children.

Ellis said the committee does not have a time frame for the completion of the project. Family members on the committee expressed a strong desire that the memorial should not be hurried or rushed. For more information, call tJanet Ellis at (703) 792-6272 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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