September 11 - Sculpture History
Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo, a former senior executive with the Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani mayoral administrations in New York City, shortly after his election to office in our City, wrote to Mayor Michael Bloomberg asking that he donate a piece of the World Trade Center ruins to the City of Pembroke Pines so that we may create a lasting 9/11 Memorial in honor of those that died on that tragic day in American history. Commissioner Castillo's request was approved and in early 2005, a piece of a steel girder from one of the fallen buildings was provided by the City of New York as a lasting gift to the City of Pembroke Pines. The City treasures this artifact, has been using it consistently to mark the anniversary of 9/11 at City Hall, and has established plans to incorporate it into a world-class monument created by local artists that is nearing completion.
A beautiful piece of Italian marble that was painstakingly selected is being converted into a magnificent sculpture by Benoit Menasche, a gifted sculptor. The sculpture will form the base upon which the girder will be mounted and displayed. It depicts four different stages of the tragedy on each of its four facades: capturing the shocking moment of the attack, the pain and disbelief that followed, the grieving reaction of our citizens, and the inevitable rebuilding and renewal of patriotism that followed.
Surrounding this central structure will be massive steel statues breathtakingly created by artist Felix Gonzalez. It is impossible to view these statues without a rush of emotion. The sculptures pay tribute to the heroism displayed on that terrible day. They include a depiction of the Twin Towers, a firefighter, a police officer, a woman, and a child.
All of these structures will be housed in an elegant but simple glass enclosed structure to be located at the Pembroke Pines City Center so that residents and visitors may view the sculptures at their leisure. This building will be constructed in accordance with Green Building Standards, lending an element of nature to the otherwise urban looking memorial, suggesting Florida's natural connection to the 9/11 tragedy.
Commissioner Castillo, who grew up in New York City, has a very personal connection to 911 having lost friends and associates in the attack. His impression of the work in progress "I have visited a number of 9/11 Memorials in Florida and in New York City. Without a doubt, the most impressive one that I have seen is being created right here in Pembroke Pines and it makes me very proud to be associated with so amazing a project."
The City of Pembroke Pines Memorial will be unveiled on the 10th anniversary of the event, September 11, 2011. To assist in paying the cost of erecting the memorial, the City has created the City of Pembroke Pines 9/11 Memorial Fund. Residents, businesses and individuals are encouraged to make tax deductible contributions in any amount to that fund, payable in the name of the fund, checks to be sent to:
City of Pembroke Pines 9/11 Memorial Fund
Pembroke Pines City Hall
10100 Pines Boulevard
Pembroke Pines, Fl 33016