- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TENINO, Wash. (AP) - The founder of the Spirit of America Foundation that created a 9/11 memorial is upset that the sculpture has been rejected again.

John Jackson of Tenino had hoped the monument would be installed near the Capitol in Olympia. That plan was rejected by the state Department of Enterprise Services on the basis it was of national, not state, significance, he said. A proposal to put the sculpture in a Kirkland park was rejected last week by the city council after disapproving comments were posted in an online survey. Some said it was too negative for a park and that it was unattractive.

The monument displays four bronze figures - a firefighter, a flight attendant, a business woman and a member of the military - holding hands in a circle. The sculpture includes steel from the World Trade Center and concrete from the Pentagon.

Jackson told The Chronicle (https://bit.ly/1lV4IuM ) the sculpture received positive comments on a tour of Eastern Washington, but he thinks people in Western Washington are too self-absorbed.

“Over 550,000 people have seen it in the eastern part of the state and it gets overwhelming support. Over here there seems to be a lot of morons,” Jackson said. “I think it’s a me, me, me kind of attitude in the country right now. People are so self-centered, they don’t really understand what the memorial is. They make it into something they can vilify.”

The Kirkland City Council rejected the sculpture proposal spearheaded by resident Maureen Baskin, even though the city’s arts commission and parks department approved the plan and location in Juanita Beach Park.

More than 80 percent of the comments about the sculpture in the online survey were negative, KOMO reported (https://bit.ly/1lV2w6C ). Some wrote that 9/11 happened on the East Coast and the memorial is too painful to have in a park where children play.

“We did a survey, we got the results, the results told us what direction our citizens wanted to go,” said council member and deputy mayor Penny Sweet. “So regardless of my own disappointment, I think the path was clear.”

Since last June, Spirit of America Memorial Foundation Executive Director Dave Lewis personally toured the sculpture across more than 5,000 miles of Eastern Washington and said it was warmly received.

At least four cities are competing for the sculpture, each willing to spend between $12,500 and $30,000 for a proper spot, he said.

Whoever takes the sculpture will have to put it on display by Sept. 11 of next year, Lewis said.

Baskin thinks it will go to an Eastern Washington city.

“It’s going to find a great home here in Washington,” she said. “I’m just sorry, really sorry it’s not Kirkland.”


Information from: The Chronicle, https://www.chronline.com



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