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Rotary club preparing for Sept. 11 ceremony

Posted: August 31, 2011 - 11:15pm  |  Updated: August 31, 2011 - 11:17pm
Brent Fischer sketched this drawing of the 9/11 Memorial in 2005 of the memorial in Riverside Park. The Glacier Valley Rotary Club will clean up the memorial this weekend in preparation for the memorial ceremony on Sept. 11, where Fischer will discuss the significance of the design.  Provided by Brent Fischer
Provided by Brent Fischer
Brent Fischer sketched this drawing of the 9/11 Memorial in 2005 of the memorial in Riverside Park. The Glacier Valley Rotary Club will clean up the memorial this weekend in preparation for the memorial ceremony on Sept. 11, where Fischer will discuss the significance of the design.

The Glacier Valley Rotary Club is getting ready for its ceremony to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The public event will start at 9:40 a.m. Sept. 11 at the memorial in Riverside Rotary Park. It will conclude at 10:15 a.m.

This ceremony honors those killed in and those who responded to the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks, and Juneau’s first responders. The Rotary states this is part of its promise to always remember the event.

Several speakers are scheduled, including representatives from the police and fire departments. Juneau Parks and Recreation Director Brent Fischer will speak of the significance of Juneau’s 9/11 monument. He was not only instrumental in its construction, but he felt a personal loss from the attack.

“It’s certainly part of our promise never to forget,” said Fischer. “This is kind of a milestone year, so to speak.”

Fischer will detail the design of the memorial, which in itself symbolizes the different aspects of the events of Sept. 11 in its construction. He said it was a joint project between the Rotary and the City and Borough of Juneau.

The memorial is a broken pentagon. Each side is 4 feet long to represent the four airplanes that were lost. Two missing sections represent the World Trade Center towers. It’s made of Pennsylvanian marble and concrete to represent the strength of the heroes and responders.

The top of the pentagon points to the North Star as a symbol of all Alaskans.

Also there are flowers to represent patriotism, flags to represent the country’s unity and forget-me-nots as a symbol of the promise to ”never forget.”

The memorial came to fruition soon after Sept. 11. Fischer said he and his wife thought something should be done locally right after the attack. He came up with the idea for putting in a flagpole as a symbol, but the idea didn’t stop there.

“I thought about the significance of the memorial and went back to the board and said let’s go a step further,” he said.

The memorial was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2002.

This also holds a special significance for Fischer because his childhood friend, Chris Newton, was on American Airlines Flight 77 when it hit the Pentagon.

Eric Forst of the Glacier Valley Rotary Club said that while the club holds the ceremony every year, this 10-year mark is a milestone that brings more focus to the event and the memorial itself, which he said was a big undertaking to get built.

“It helps us refocus on the memorial a little bit,” he said.

The Rotary will clean the memorial this Saturday.

Forst said the memorial has gone though some additional phases since the dedication, such as the surrounding benches and trees. The Rotary sold bricks there that display personal dedications. He said they may sell more bricks in the future to raise funds for a wall to complete the memorial.

Fischer said this wall would go from a zero elevation to a fathom to embrace the memorial.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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