Tag Archives: 9/11

9/11 Memorial Committee response

In response to today’s story about the 9/11 Memorial Committee, Bremerton City Councilman Jim McDonald sent this note out to the folks you see listed here.

From: Jim McDonald
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 9:21 AM
To: City Council; Mayor Lent; Wyn Birkenthal
Cc: Dave Fergus; Roy Lusk
Subject: 9-11 Committee Update

Based on the recent press regarding the 9-11 Memorial Committee, I wanted to give you an update from the last report where I discussed the resignations.

First of all, I was shocked and disappointed to see the accusations in the Kitsap Sun this morning by the former committee members. The remaining committee volunteers continue to do incredible things and expend a ton of their own time and money to this cause. You only need to look back to the 10-year anniversary event last month to see the types of things this group can accomplish.

As the committee has grown and collected more funds, they have taken steps to improve the organization. Earlier this year (or late last year) the committee had been in contact with a CPA for assistance. The current treasurer has been working with the CPA to review the committee procedures. While the committee already had some good financial controls in place (like two people required to sign checks), they are also moving to improve the financial reporting by migrating from a notebook with receipts and bank statements to QuickBooks. This will allow for easier reporting and monthly reconciliation. By the time this is completed, they will have financial controls better than most non-profit organizations.

While the focus the last couple of months has been on the successful Memorial and Groundbreaking ceremonies, Dave Fergus and Wyn Birkenthal have been recently discussing the process to arrive at the final design. I expect that effort to begin shortly. Once complete, I also expect that much of the labor and material needed for the Memorial will come from in-kind donations. For example, the trucking company that has been moving the two World Trade Center beams to all the events and parades has done it all for no charge. All the chairs and most of the cost for the expensive sound system were donated for the Memorial ceremony. Proceeds from concessions were donated to the Committee. The list of community support goes on and on.

Since the resignation of the committee members, there have been more people attending the committee meetings and there have been more volunteers. In fact, at last night’s 9-11 committee meeting, we had a lot of the volunteers join the committee with comments that a lot more folks would like to be on the committee. To keep the organization from getting too big too fast, the committee passed a motion to limit the current size of the committee to 30 members.

I remain totally convinced that this organization will complete the Memorial. The organization is filled with people with integrity and who remain extremely dedicated and passionate about this cause. As the City Council appointee to 9-11 Memorial Committee, I am very proud to be associated with this group. Please feel free to attend a committee meeting and see for yourself.


Jim McDonald
Bremerton City Council
District 1

Unsolicited Thoughts on 9/11

Listening to reporter Steve Gardner conduct a phone interview last week for a story on the 9/11 memorial planned at Bremerton’s Evergreen Park reminded me of a visit I made to New York City about a month after the destruction of the World Trade Center.

Kitsap’s memorial to those who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11th will feature two steel beams from New York’s World Trade Center, pieces of stone from the Pentagon and some representation of the crash in Pennsylvania, said Dave Fergus of Rice Fergus Miller Architects. Fergus said he will have rough designs ready sometime in May. Organizers, who have raised about $80,000, hope to have the memorial completed groundbreaking on the memorial by this Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Visitors will be able to touch the beams. “There’s something very emotional about that that puts you in that place,” Fergus said. “As a visitor you become part of the memorial.”

In October, when we wrote about the Kitsap 9/11 Memorial Project committee’s plans for a site featuring wreckage from the WTC, a heated discussion ensued among readers about whether it is appropriate to display the beams. They seem to symbolize different things to different people: a sacred reminder of a nation united in grief, an ugly reminder of despicable acts or nothing at all.

Here, for what it’s worth, is what I think of when I look at the beams, as I have when they were on display at the Kitsap County Fair.

I grew up outside New York City, and often went back to visit my mom.

I brought my oldest son to visit Granny when he was 13 (1997). Passing through NYC, we visited the World Trade Center on a Sunday, when it was almost deserted. We ran through the empty, snaking barrier maze and took a dizzying elevator ride up one of the Twin Towers.

The windows on the observation level of the South Tower were canted out, so we had the sensation of hanging above the criss-cross of city streets. The yellow taxis below looked like Matchbox cars. Higher than an airplane on take-off, we could see the city’s bridges. To the east was Long Island (where I grew up), to the north, Southern Connecticut, where my mother lived in an assisted living center.

I made another visit to my mom in October, 2001, about a month after the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. I’ve never been fond of flying, but I felt, as did many, that carrying on with my travel plans was an act of defiance against other would-be terrorists and an act of solidarity with other Americans. As the plane descended over New Jersey farmland, we got a glimpse of the NYC skyline, and all one could think was, “My God, they’re really gone.”

I met up with my sister in Grand Central Station, where photos of the missing covered the hallways. Makeshift signs read, “Have you seen … “ “She was wearing … “ “Cantor Fitzgerald employee …” “Please call …”

We took a subway down to the lower end of Manhattan to view the wreckage. The first thing I noticed on stepping up into the street was bright sunlight and a gaping patch of sky where there should have been a canyon wall of buildings. The WTC site, more than 15 blocks away, was closed off with barriers guarded by police officers.

There were no strangers on the streets. Locals and out-of-towners alike gathered at the barrier, pulled by a morbid dread and something else, hard to put a finger on. It was far from a carnival atmosphere, but it wasn’t entirely somber. People chatted — where ‘ya from? — talked up the cop and snapped photos of the hole in the heart of the city. We were showing New York some love, and New Yorkers were tossing it right back.

We were together, mourning the dead, observing our nation’s monumental loss. We also were celebrating our strength. New York’s resilience was evident on city streets, where people walked (apparently) fearlessly, in the shops and cafes, where they ate and milled about as usual, and in the subway, where an elderly Chinese man played on a stringed instrument at rush hour, the music echoing sweetly in the cement cavern.

Here’s a picture of the Statue of Liberty, which was closed with the heightened security. The boardwalk where the ferry to the monument boards was another impromptu gathering place in the wake of 9/11. The statue seemed so far away, but as we stood watching the sun set, we struck up conversations with people we might never have otherwise.