By Michelle McNiel
The Wenatchee World
CASHMERE — A 9/11 memorial statue that has been touring Washington in search of a permanent home will settle in Cashmere.
The Vancouver-based Spirit of America Foundation, which owns the life-sized bronze statue, made the announcement today.
The artwork honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon has drawn both praise and criticism as the foundation searched for a public place to locate it.
The state rejected a proposal to place it on the Capitol campus in Olympia. Earlier this month, the city of Kirkland rejected it, with some critics calling it a sad, ugly reminder of the tragedy. The city of Issaquah also rejected the memorial.
Cities in Eastern Washington, however, welcomed the bronze, incorporating it into community festivals as it toured the state last year. It was in Cashmere for Apple Days in October and Veterans Day in November. It was also part of the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival in May and Wenatchee’s Veterans Day celebration last year, Earth Day in Chelan, and community events in Leavenworth and Omak.
Wenatchee City Councilman Keith Huffaker, who advocated for it coming to Wenatchee, said he was disappointed that the city wasn’t chosen. He said received a notice from the foundation today that it would be going to Cashmere.
“But at least it will be close by where we can see it and take our grandchildren to see it,” he said.
The winning community must pay $6,000 for the statue and about $7,000 more for installation.
The statue consists of a circle of four life-sized figures — a military person, a fireman, an office worker and a flight attendant — representing those who died in the attacks. A vacant fifth position in the circle denotes those missing and assumed killed in the attacks. The blank space allows visitors to step into the circle and join hands with the other figures.
The memorial includes a section of a metal beam from the Twin Towers, destroyed in the attacks, and a stone facade piece from the top of the Pentagon building, which was heavily damaged.