By Joel Kost Lowell Sun
WESTFORD, MA — Members of Westford’s 9/11 Memorial Committee and the Westford Fire Department gathered Tuesday morning in front of the Westford police station to celebrate the first day of construction of the Westford Remembers September 11th Memorial site, a tribute to those who lost their lives in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
But as members of the committee and the Fire Department shoveled out the first piles of dirt, no one would take full credit for the tribute’s conception. In addition to several committee members’ hands-on work with the memorial, the NESS Foundry in Chelsea, Valley Welding and Fabrication in Hollis, N.H., and Garside Granite are helping with the construction.
Firefighter EMT and committee member David Christiana calls it a community effort.
“We have an unbelievable team,” he said.
Organized by the memorial committee, the tribute will stand more than 6 feet tall. A polished bronze piece, with the Twin Towers engraved on it, will be embedded into a 24-inch-tall rounded piece of granite surrounded by a pentagon-shaped base filled with green sea glass. The structure will be topped with stainless-steel flames surrounding a piece of an I-beam from the Twin Towers donated to Westford. Lighting will be added to the flames and the sea glass to illuminate the memorial.
The last names of the 92 Massachusetts residents who lost their lives will also be engraved onto the bronze piece. James Hayden and Susan MacKay, Westford residents who died during the attacks, will have their full names and a star engraved.
The location was chosen because of its proximity to Town Hall and the Westford Police and Fire Departments.
“The Town Hall represents the people, and the fire and police departments represent first responders,” Christiana said. “It’s the perfect place for it.”
The memorial itself is close to completion; the granite and flames still have to be completely cut and the metal needs a finished coat before it is put together. The whole project, site included, is expected to be finished by the end of August.
When the town of Westford received the piece of I-beam in November 2011, the committee brainstormed ideas for how to place it. That role was eventually to given to Christiana, who also took part in the construction of the Fallen Firefighter Memorial just outside the Westford police and fire departments. Selectmen approved the idea on September 11, 2012.
“From a very basic piece of granite to our I-beam, Dave has come up with a wonderful tribute,” said Committee Chairwoman Nancy Cook.
“I felt it needed a little something special,” Christiana, who originally aimed to attend art school, added.
So far the committee has raised about $13,000, $3,500 short of its goal, but Cook said she isn’t worried.
“I think it will come quickly,” she said. “The town is unbelievably generous.”