As 9-11 nears, memorial funds short in Westford

By Samantha Allen Lowell Sun

The Westford Public Safety Courtyard is being readied for a 9-11 Memorial, which will honor the 92 Massachusetts residents killed in the terrorist attacks

The Westford Public Safety Courtyard is being readied for a 9-11 Memorial, which will honor the 92 Massachusetts residents killed in the terrorist attacks

The Westford Public Safety Courtyard is being readied for a 9-11 Memorial, which will honor the 92 Massachusetts residents killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The 12th anniversary of a horrific day in the country’s history will hold special meaning this September 11, as residents lay their eyes for the first time on a fully-completed memorial dedicated to those who died in the attack.

Nancy Cook is one of a team of nine on the Westford Remembers 9-11 Memorial Committee, which formed almost a year ago to pull together a 6-foot-tall sculpture, to be unveiled September 11. The piece will honor the 92 Massachusetts residents who perished in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. All the names will be listed with special decoration of the two Westford residents who died that day — James Hayden and Susan MacKay.But with about three weeks left before the event, committee members said they have fallen short on funds needed to complete the more than $18,000 project. On Friday, the group still needed to raise $3,000 of their approximate $14,000 goal. That number was cut in half over the weekend though, with a $1,500 donation by Lowell Sun Charities.

Cook said she was extremely gratified to receive the gift from the group and said the money will go toward two decorated benches for visitors of the monument to use when they go to the public-safety courtyard at the town’s center. They’ll continue to seek $1,500 from the public in the weeks ahead.

“It’s our honor to help the Westford Remembers 9-11 Memorial Committee achieve its goal,” said Mark O’Neil, president and publisher of The Sun. “We thank those who also have contributed, and encourage others to join us in honoring the Westford residents and first responders who gave their lives on September 11.”

The statue has been in the works for the last year by Westford firefighter David Christiana, who designed the sculpture. Visitors to the space between Westford Town Hall and the police and fire stations today will find construction crews working to ready the area.

Christiana and Cook are both Westford Academy graduates and natives of the town. The terrorist attacks hit so close to home for them that they both wanted to do something special.

The sculpture — with a featured piece of infrastructure saved from the fallen Twin Towers of the World Trade Center — will stand with a polished bronze piece engraved with a depiction of the towers. Flames will wrap around the metal I-beam, Christiana explained, with the flames almost protecting the metal. He said he believes only 1,000 other entities across the country have a piece of the New York rubble from that day. He called the piece “sacred.”

The bronze work will be situated within a pentagon shape at its base, to symbolize the attack on the capital’s Pentagon that day. The base will be illuminated with light shining through green sea glass. Christiana said the glass has been donated by a Pennsylvania company touched by the concept, and the material will resemble the green fields outside Shanksville, Penn., where the hijacked Flight 93 crashed.

Cook said Westford’s honorary ceremony location will be a “big reveal” for the town. She says many have been anxiously awaiting the commemorative work. The committee’s Facebook page has only shown sketches and bits and pieces, so no one really knows what it looks like.

Cook said she also expects hundreds to attend the event. Several prominent political figures have been invited, including Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.

“I think September 11 showed us the best and the worst in what we can do to each other,” she added. “People helped complete strangers and continue to care about the lives that were lost.”

While the number of those killed has been placed at just under 3,000 for the attacks on New York, Washington D.C., and in Pennsylvania, Cook said people continue to die from their injuries, so the number is ever-growing.

“A firefighter died last week from a lung-related disease,” she said. “I hope we never forget. This monument brings peace and remembrance to the lives that were lost.”

Cook said there may also be members of the Mackay and Hayden families at the ceremony.

The ceremony will be held on at 7 p.m. in the courtyard at 53 Main St. Refreshments will be served after the event, inside the fire station.

Donations may be made to the memorial effort through the committee’s account at Northern Bank and Trust, 45 Main St., Westford MA 01886.

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