Back in March, Mayor Bernie Platt announced the township’s plans to erect a permanent memorial in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
After months of fund raising and construction, the memorial will be unveiled on Sept. 11.
The township, through the work of its firefighters, was able to acquire a 3-foot long piece of steel from the World Trade Center’s North Tower. The WTC steel will be prominently utilized in the memorial, officials said.
Two granite towers will be linked together by the steel. The memorial will stand in the middle of a larger courtyard. Platt said the garden will provide a fitting solitude for those who come to pay their respects in the future.
“I am extremely pleased with what our emergency response organizations have devised to honor and remember the events and victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy. I believe this monument will serve as a beautiful, heartfelt addition to our community’s landscape,” Platt said at the announcement of the memorial.
Construction of the memorial began in mid-July, Firefighter Raymond Reis said.
Reis was directed by CHFD Chief Robert Giorgio to coordinate the memorial, which will be permanently housed at the Fire Administration Building on Marlkress Road.
Initially, the total estimated cost of the memorial was about $60,000. Local and regional vendors helped to scale the total cost down to nearly half of its original estimate, Reis said, due to donations and organizations providing work at-cost.
The memorial will take about $35,000 to complete, he said. At least $28,000 has been raised so far through donations and recent fundraising events in the township. The construction was provided mostly by off-duty and volunteer firefighters, Reis said. The department does receive some installation help from on-duty staff as well as members from the township’s department of public works.
Reis said the department is looking forward to the unveiling, which will be held at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11 at the Cherry Hill Fire Department Central Command building, 1100 Marlkress Rd. Congressman Rob Andrews and Platt, as well as members of the Cherry Hill Police and Fire Departments that served at Ground Zero will speak at the 10th anniversary remembrance.
Active members of the military, students from the Cherry Hill High School West Air Force Junior ROTC, local Boy Scouts, and Cherry Hill High School choral singers will take part, as well. In between speakers and presentations, there will be moments of silence to remember those who were killed.
Reis said the new memorial will offer a place of solace for anyone in the township, whether it be the police or fire departments, church groups or a township wide event, to be able to collectively honor and remember the events of Sept. 11.
“It solidifies a location to have remembrances and ceremonies,” Reis said. “It brings it all together to one gathering spot.”
The department is continuing to seek donations and will accept funds after Sept. 11 to meet their $35,000 goal. Residents and local businesses are invited to donate to the cause through a secure website, www.cherryhillfire.org/memorial.asp.