By Sydney Towne The Miami Herald
Key Biscayne is getting its own 9/11 memorial.
Village firefighters brought a proposal for a memorial to the Village Council on Tuesday evening and received approval for its construction outside their station.
The idea for the memorial came out of the tight knit community of firefighters in Key Biscayne and their connection to the New York City Fire Department through longtime resident Charles Senatore. Senatore passed away in 2011 and his family offered the department money to build an outdoor bench to remember him by.
This idea expanded through what Chief Eric Lang described as a “grassroots effort” to include a memorial for 9/11 given in part that Senatore’s son, Rob Senatore is a firefighter in NYC. Additionally, Lang said during Tuesday’s meeting that as first responders it is a part of their duty to make sure “we never forget.”
The memorial has been designed by Thomas Weber of The Weber Studio Architecture. According to Lang, Weber met with firefighters on a number of occasions to better understand the company’s dynamics.
The memorial incorporates the originally intended benches as well as three distinct design features. Each of these feature is intended to commemorate one of the three sites of crashed planes on 9/11.
The design features a pentagon of pavers as a reference to the Pentagon’s attack. The middle of the pavers will be filled with grass as a reference to the Pennsylvania field that Flight 93 crashed in. In the center of the grass there will be two 22 foot high steel I-beams like those left standing at the site of the collapsed twin towers.
Council member Michael Kelly questioned whether passers-by would recognize the I-beams as a part of a memorial. Weber said that intrigue about what the two massive steel structures were would only encourage residents to visit the memorial.
Lang said he hopes that construction on the memorial will be completed by this year’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This will also correspond to the department’s 20th anniversary in October.
Lang said he hopes to pay for the monument almost entirely through private donations.
The Weber Studio’s design for a 9/11 memorial in Key Biscayne. The Weber Studio