On Wednesday afternoon, business leaders, school administrators and government representatives in South Cobb County paused to remember those who perished and served valiantly on Sept. 11, 2001.
The South Cobb Business Association’s September luncheon served as a forum as community leaders met to commemorate 9/11 and to honor local firefighters, police officers and other emergency response personnel.
The luncheon speaker was Jim Hickey, a Mableton resident and West Point graduate with more than 27 years of experience serving in the U.S. Army as part of the Army Corps of Engineers.
Hickey, now a private consultant, was assigned in 2009 the task of helping oversee the construction process of the World Trade Center Memorial in New York City. The memorial is currently still being completed at Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center towers that were destroyed on 9/11.
Hickey presented a slideshow to give attendees a visual glimpse of the memorial's progress. “The men and women constructing this site have done a phenomenal job,” said Hickey. “A great deal of patriotism and pride has gone into this project. This isn’t just about building something that takes your breath away. This is about remembering lost loved ones, fellow citizens and fallen heroes.”
Hickey shared diagrams and photos of the memorial site, which when completed, will consist of six towers. Tower 1–often referred to as the “Freedom Tower”– will be the tallest building in Manhattan. It will stand 1,776 feet tall upon completion. The height was specifically designed to commemorate the year that the country's founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
In addition, the memorial will feature a wall on which the names of the victims will be engraved in bronze, two massive fountains which once served as the foundations of the original Twin Towers, a performing arts center, transportation hub and retail shopping. The site will also boast a beautiful plaza through which visitors can walk and reflect.
While the plaza and fountains will be completed in time for the official festivities commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11, most of the project is still under construction. “The project is not yet completed, but it is on schedule,” said Hickey. “It will be finished in stages, with the first of the towers being fully finished in 2013, more to be completed in 2014.”
Hickey said that working on the WTC Memorial has been a great honor. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be asked to work on such an important and historic project,” he said. “I’m truly grateful, and I’m excited for the public to finally get to experience what I know will be a very special and reverent place.”
The SCBA also used Wednesday’s luncheon to recognize emergency responders. Cobb County Police Chief John Houser spoke briefly, as did officials from the local fire department and the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department. Attendees were also treated to a musical performance by students from who performed several patriotic songs.