Everything Bremerton: Come together for memorial, or give it up

Waking up on Sept. 11, 2001, after getting very little sleep thanks to my 6-month-old baby who just had a very rough night with an upset tummy, the chore of turning on the morning news programs was farther down my normal routine list than usual.

As a relatively new mom, I was only working part time and had Tuesdays scheduled off.

I woke Jason up so he could get ready for work, started the coffee maker, fixed Nick a breakfast bottle and turned on my usual major network as coverage of the first plane crash into the World Trade Center was well underway.

As I was listening to news anchors discuss the possible accidental reasons behind such a crash the second plane raced across the screen and slammed into the other tower.

Too soon coverage of the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania began to unfold. The word accident was quickly replaced with the word “attacked” and the world changed forever.

It was an unfathomable day of horror and grief that played out in graphic detail across the flickering screen of my television and I watched it all unfold minute by minute.

I remember going outside much later that night to just sit on my porch trying to gain some perspective on everything I had seen and heard.

For the first time in my life I looked up at just the stars. Not a plane in sight. A shiver ran down my spine.

A decade has now passed since 9/11 but the questions go on. Who are we now? How have we changed from this? What do we hope to accomplish? How do we want to honor and remember?

Currently our community has two artifacts from ground zero in our possession. Two of the largest pieces released to date.

A memorial that will use the artifacts is planned for a section of land near Evergreen Park.

A community non profit committee has been formed and fundraising is well underway.

The concept, design and creation of this memorial for this community and by the members of this community deserves as much respect and professionalism as we can possibly give to it every single step of the way.

Collective decision making and participation in and around this project should never be about individual celebrity or any profiteering that comes from being associated with such an emotional endeavor.

Decisions about accountability, transparency, fundraising and project management should always be based on the ability and the experience of those community members who are stepping up and can respectfully accomplish what needs to be done to meet a very specific timeline of goals that should already be set in place.

To truly honor 9/11 this project needs to carefully proceed with effective capable leadership in place behind a series of united common goals forged this past year and in the coming months by the entire community.

If that cannot be accomplished, then it should not proceed at all and the artifacts should then go  to a community that can accomplish all of that and more.


Colleen Smidt writes about  Everything Bremerton. Her column appears weekly.

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