Communities throughout the Bay Area are marking 12 years since the 9/11 terror attacks took nearly 3,000 lives when hijacked planes crashed into New York’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a rural field in Pennsylvania.
Just a week before the 12th anniversary, the city of Hayward approved final plans for a 9/11 memorial to be built in downtown Hayward.
Designer Michael Emerson, the man behind the Flight 93 memorial in Union City that was built in 2007 and a veterans memorial in Castro Valley, will privately fund the design and construction efforts.
“I see a memorial as a work of art,” he said. “I want people to feel connected. We want to remember 9/11.”
The planned memorial for Hayward will include four black 10-foot tall granite monoliths on Mission Boulevard near D Street.
The slabs are intended to represent the four planes that crashed.
Emerson said when he thinks of the 9/11 attacks he thinks of the four different planes, not just the three different locations where they crashed.
Each granite piece will have laser-etched images of the locations of the crashes, along with a collage of photographs of the rescues and other moments of the day.
An American flag will fly from the center of a red granite base which will have “We Will Never Forget” written out with several benches lining the perimeter of the square.
Also in the center will be a plaque honoring fallen firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders from Hayward.
Emerson initially approached city officials about building a tribute to the heroes of the attacks and eventually the site near old city hall was selected.
The site is already cleared and ready for construction to begin.
Emerson said about half of the materials for the monument have already been donated, including red granite worth $50,000 and landscaping materials, but he is still looking for gray and black granite and other funding sources.
“I can’t build it by myself,” he said. “I might be the face of the memorial, but there are a lot of great people behind me.”
Because of his other memorial work, he said he is known as “Monument Man.”
He said he is also looking for help to pour concrete, install bricks and other components of the building process.
The Hayward resident and Marine Corps veteran said he is helping with the memorial as a donation and is hoping to raise up to $150,000 for the project.
He estimated the site would be ready for dedication by the 9/11 anniversary in 2015 — however it could be sooner if more materials and donations come in.
Donation information and more details about the memorial is available at http://hayward911memorial.com.
Construction will not begin, he said, until he has secured full funding, materials and labor sources.
He said it will likely be a six-month construction project.
Today Emerson said he will be attending the United Airlines Flight 93 memorial remembrance ceremony in Union City, where Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci is expected to attend along with family members of three victims who had had been on the plane.
The 10 a.m. ceremony at the memorial will, in part, honor the 33 passengers and seven crew members who were aboard the flight that was headed for San Francisco International Airport on that ill-fated day.
The San Francisco Fire Department is holding a public remembrance ceremony at all of the department’s 43 city fire stations.
Flag and bell-ringing ceremonies will occur at times when the attacks happened in New York starting at 6:45 a.m.
At 7:02 a.m. all of the fallen 343 New York firefighters’ and first-responders’ names will be read.
Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White is scheduled to attend the ceremony at Fire Station 7 at 2300 Folsom St.
Nationwide, residents are urged to participate in the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance to commemorate the attacks.
The effort was launched in 2002 as a living tribute to the deadly day and includes community service events for seniors, veterans, children, schools, homeless shelters, low-income residents and many others.
More information about Bay Area volunteer opportunities is available at www.serve.gov.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News