Is this 9/11 memorial too big for a small Washington town?

Dec 18, 2015, 5:33 AM | Updated: 9:22 am
A 9/11 memorial stands in Bremerton, Wash. using twisted remnants of the twin towers, similar to wh...
A 9/11 memorial stands in Bremerton, Wash. using twisted remnants of the twin towers, similar to what residents in Milton want to do. (Kitsap 9/11 Memorial)
(Kitsap 9/11 Memorial)

There are two philosophies: Remember and honor tragedies, or move on.

That’s the dynamic that the City of Milton faces as it considers placing a 9/11 memorial in town.

“There are some people who want to never forget and put up the steel in the park and make a memorial, because they feel that is respectful and that is a good point of view. I agree with that,” Milton Mayor Debra Perry told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz.

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“There is another group of people who say, ‘It was such an awful, awful day. Don’t pull me back to that day,'” she said.

That latter point has only been heightened after the city received a portion of the fallen World Trade Center from the tragic day. The city held a mock groundbreaking to honor their reception of the artifact. But now that they have it, some people are pointing out that it’s fairly large – 36 feet tall, in fact – and Milton is a small town.

“A lot of people have come to me in confidence and expressed their concerns. I don’t think I would call this a controversy. This is a process,” Perry said, further noting that, as with most government progress, it’s a slow process.

Milton is not alone. Various cities across the United States have received twisted remnants of the twin towers to create their own memorials. Kitsap County erected such a memorial in Bremerton.

The Seattle Times reports that 36 foot tall twisted steel beam was once in place between floors 91 to 94 of the World Trade Center south building. It weighs 17,119 pounds, and is currently in a storage yard in Milton where it awaits a home.

But now that Milton residents have had a chance to see the artifact, some are rethinking the memorial. Four letters of opposition have been submitted to the city, and one person spoke about it at a recent council meeting.

“Some members of the community have brought up a valid point, that perhaps they don’t want it outside their door,” Perry said. “So that has brought up this conversation.”

It begged the question, at least for Rantz: Why didn’t anyone think about its size before it was shipped out to Washington?

“It’s not like they said, ‘We want to do a memorial.’ They said, ‘We wanted to do a memorial, here’s our general idea of what it will look like,'” Rantz said.

“Part of the issue is that maybe you rushed a little bit,” he said.

But Perry says that many people are forgetting something: that it’s a community process and it’s not finished.

“This is not a done deal,” Perry said. “As we move forward, it turns out it is 36 feet…there are a lot of issues, engineering, how it’s going to be, what it’s going to look like. The entire time, through this whole process it has been very clear that there has to be community involvement.”

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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Is this 9/11 memorial too big for a small Washington town?