9/11 memorial to be built at FM

by Winnie Blackwood

A 33-foot antenna off the North Tower of the World Trade center will arrive at FM on Dec. 15.

This part of the Twin Towers is part of a program with the Port Authority. The program allows institutions and colleges to receive a part of history, according to Joel Chapin, a professor of Fine Arts at FM.

Photo submitted by Joel Chapin of a mock up sketch of the planned sculpture.

Once the antenna has reached its new home, preparations will begin to transform the mangled piece into a memorial and sculpture. Chapin, along with several others, have been working on multiple sketches for the design of the sculpture; an architect was also hired.

“The best way I can describe it, it’s almost like a living thing, like the spine and veins and it’s copper tubes and wires,” he said.

One of the design features is to have the shadow from the sculpture hit two markers on every Sept. 11 at the exact time the towers were struck.

Louis Pabon, an alumnus of FM and a construction worker called to clean up after the wreckage of 9/11, is the mastermind behind this.

Thoughts of actually getting a piece from the Twin Towers began to formulate between Pabon, Chapin and FM’s President Dustin Swanger.

After a trip to Hangar 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the home to the Port Authority’s program, Pabon, Chapin, and a few others decided on the antenna.

Pabon said he feels lucky to get this particular piece.

Pabon said he originally came to FM in order to take part in a traveling national exhibition.
Pabon added he wanted to showcase the photographs he captured during this time of his life. His images will be displayed as a part of the final sculpture.

“My reasoning behind all of this was to send a message, but now we’re getting an antenna and that’s so symbolic of sending messages,” he remarked.

Chapin said the antenna was the communication hub for TV stations in New York.

“If you think about this thing, it’s almost symbolic that it had been a tool of free speech and here, ironically, it’s all crumpled up and fallen down,” he added.

Pabon said one of the dedications of the memorial will be to John Vigiano; Vigiano lost both of his sons, one a firefighter and the other a police officer.

“When I found out who he was, I went up to him and I offered him my condolences, at which time I started to cry. He reached out and he put his arm around me and told me it was going to be all right,” Pabon said.

The sculpture is planned to be completed by Sept. 11, 2016 in time for a ceremony; its new home will be in FM’s new sculpture garden.

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