The New 9/11 Memorial


Shane Rakes

Behind the fences, just a few steps from the World Trade Center reflecting pools where the fallen names are engraved, teams of workers assemble a new memorial.

It’s going to be called the 9/11 Memorial Glade and it’s being created to honor a new round of World Trade Center victims: the men and women who have either gotten sick or have died from illnesses linked to the toxic dust when the World Trade Center collapsed nearly 18 years ago.

People like Bridget Gormley’s father, William, a firefighter who responded on 9/11 and died of cancer two years ago.

“To neglect that part of the 9/11 narrative … would be to neglect the 9/11 future, because 9/11 isn’t one day,” said Gormley, who now advocates for those who became sick with 9/11-related illnesses. “It’s a historical event, yes, but a historical event that echoes into today.”

The memorial sits where recovery workers had entered the site in the aftermath of 9/11. It consists of six stone monoliths, weighing at least 13 tons each. They were designed and chiseled in Vermont, and brought on flatbed trucks to the city early last month. For the last several weeks, workers have been assembling the memorial and inserting melted-down steel recovered from the original World Trade Center into the stone monoliths.

After of the attacks affected so many people, the memorial will not contain their names. The NYPD says that they had lost 203 members since 9/11, nearly nine times the amount of police officers that died in the attack. The FDNY says 193 of its members have passed away from 9/11-related illnesses.

Tens of thousands of first responders, students, residents, and workers which are now sick, many of them with cancer, the numbers will continue to grow.

“We feel like history is being made and an obligation — a promise we made to never forget what happened not only on 9/11 but in the aftermath — that promise is being kept today,” said Alice Greenwald, the president & CEO of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The memorial is scheduled to open on a symbolic day: May 30. This day marks 17 years since rescue and recovery workers ended the mission that would later make them sick and possibly kill them.

For Bridget Gormley, the hope is that the memorial is a teaching tool.

“I want them to be aware that this issue is ongoing,” she said. “And it’s going to continue for decades, and I want them to be aware of the human costs of 9/1. It wasn’t just the people who died that day, but the people who have died since.”

And the many people who will die in the future, will all now be honored at a memorial commemorating the tragedy that has unfolded since 9/11.

Lakewood High School graduate David Dailey said, “this is amazing that they are doing this for the people who worked hard when this happened.”