10 9/11 Memorials You've Probably Never Heard Of


Wednesday is the 12th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks and to commemorate the occasion, I thought it would be fitting to share with PolicyMic readers a list of some of the less well-known 9/11 memorials from both around the U.S. and the world. Despite occurring on the northeast coast of America, 9/11 was a national and global tragedy, with citizens from over 25 states and 100 countries murdered in the attacks. As such, there is a remarkable number and range of 9/11 memorials throughout the world. Some are monuments to all those who died on that day, while others are smaller, more personal totems to lost friends, family members, or neighbors. All of them are touching, and all of them remind us to never forget that terrible day.

1. USS New York

Laid down in September 2004, the USS New York is the fifth of 11 planned San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships for the Navy. What makes the New York special, though, is that it was built with 6.8 tons of steel from the World Trade Center wreckage. Additionally, small bits of steel recovered from the WTC ruins are displayed onboard the ship, whose motto is, fittingly, "Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget."

2. Boston College Memorial Labyrinth

Built to honor the 22 alumni who died in the attacks, Boston College's memorial is modeled after the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral. Labyrinths were popular in Europe during the Middle Ages as a method for meditation and reflection. By submitting to the path of the labyrinth, the traveler takes the longest route to the center and leaves the mind open for contemplation. 

3. International Peace Garden, North Dakota and Manitoba Province

The International Peace Garden was established in 1932 by the governments of the United States and Canada to pledge "that as long as men shall live, we will not take up arms against one another." Located along the world's longest unfortified border and dedicated to world peace, the garden was a natural choice for a 9/11 memorial. In May 2002, 10 steel girders from the WTC wreckage were brought to the site and formed into a memorial.

4. 'Postcards,' Staten Island, New York

Two hundred seventy-four residents of Staten Island were killed in the September 11 attacks. Postcards was designed by artist Masayuki Sono to represent two winged letters to these lost loved ones. With Manhattan and its better known cousin — the National 9/11 Memorial —  in the distance, the postcards serve as a monument to the localized grief of Staten Island. As Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro said, "Maybe 60% of those of the people whose profile is here, their next of kin, their loved ones, didn't receive any remains. This is their cemetery."

5. Amy Toyen Sculpture, Avon, Connecticut

On the morning of September 11, 24-year old Amy Toyen of Avon, Connecticut was setting up her company's booth for a trade show on the 106th floor of the WTC's north tower. To commemorate her life, the student government from her high school led a fundraising drive to build a statue of her as a young girl outside the town's public library. The statue portrays Amy as a young girl and is meant to express the innocence and optimism that defined her throughout her life.

6. 'Memory and Light,' Padua, Italy

Inaugurated on the fourth anniversary of the attacks, Memoria e Luce in Padua, Italy was the first 9/11 memorial to open in Europe. Designed by Daniel Libeskind to represent an open book, the memorial integrates a section of a beam from the World Trade Center into one of its sides. According to Libeskind, the message of the work is:

"The light of Liberty shines through the Book of History. This Book is open to the memory of the heroes of September 11, 2001."

7. 9/11 Living Memorial, Jerusalem, Israel

Unveiled in 2009, the Living Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel is the first and only 9/11 memorial outside of the United States to list the names of all 2,974 people killed in the attacks. At the center of the plaza is a 30-foot high bronze sculpture depicting an American flag slowing transforming into a flame. The site was built by the Jewish National Fund with $2 million in donations from American backers. The goal was to not only commemorate the victims of September 11, but to also create a physical embodiment of the ties and shared values among Americans and Israelis. 

8. Moncalvillo Memorial Dedicated to Edelmiro Abad Elvira, Moncalvillo, Spain

Edelmiro Abad Elvira may have been only one of the 2,974 victims of 9/11, but for his hometown of Moncalvillo de la Sierra in Spain, the loss was wrenching. Elvira moved to the United States at age seven and was working as a senior vice president at Fiduciary Trust Bank the day the planes struck the towers. The roughly 100 residents of his tiny hometown chose to honor their departed son by building this small memorial to him and all those who died that day. It stands atop a hill in the cemetery of the town church, watching over the small pueblo below it.

9. Sudarshan Pattnaik's Sandsculptures

Sudarshan Pattnaik, a critically acclaimed, award-winning sand artist from India, has created several sand sculptures commemorating the 9/11 attacks over the past decade. While they may not be permanent creations, they are no less meaningful. The one depicted here is from 2008 and represents the then-current redevelopment plans for ground zero, with the new Freedom Tower at the center.

10. 'To the Struggle Against World Terrorism,' Bayonne, New Jersey

Last but not least, this monument was given to the United States as an official gift of the Russian government to commemorate the 9/11 attacks. Inspired by the Statue of Liberty, the impressive work looks out over the NYC skyline from a man-made pier in Bayonne, N.J. At the center of the cracked metal column lies the Tear of Grief, which represents the tears that fell from artist Zurab Tsereteli's eyes as he watched people gathered around the U.S. embassy in Moscow following the attacks.