A 9/11 memorial in Thurston County with nowhere to go
Q13 FOX News multimedia journalist
OLYMPIA — A man who spent more than a decade creating a 9/11 memorial for the state Capitol has been told “no thanks.”
The state rejected the memorial that was put together by John Jackson’s Spirit of America Foundation. So it’s sitting on a trailer in a Thurston County back yard.
Jackson raised tens of thousands of dollars and spent more than a decade putting the memorial together. And when he wanted to put it on the state Capitol grounds, the state said thanks but no thanks.
“This piece has a message of its own; it`s unity, it`s compassion, it`s closure and it`s a national treasure,” Jackson said.
Jackson, the founder of The Spirit of America Foundation, poured his heart into commissioning a sculpture; it includes a 1,400-pound steel beam from one of the World Trade Center towers destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The bronzed firefighter, military officer, flight attendant and office worker stand holding hands, looking outward toward a future of unity. There`s also a spot for visitors to step in and become a part of the interactive memorial.
“That symbolizes the unity that we all experienced on 9-11,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he met with then-Gov. Gary Locke in the early 2000s. with the intention of bringing a part of the World Trade Center to Olympia.
Jackson envisioned this piece would sit alongside other memorials at the Capitol, but instead — after 10 years of work — the memorial was rejected, and so was Jackson.
The state commission told Jackson the piece didn’t conform to its standards for placement on the Capitol grounds because it doesn’t honor an event of lasting significance for the people of Washington state or reflect the rich diversity of its people.
Steve Valandra with the state Department of Enterprise Services said, “The Spirit of America Memorial is not in keeping with the criteria established for consideration and placement of memorials on state Capitol grounds.”
The denial is no reflection on the artwork or his intentions, Valandra said.
So now Jackson is trying to find some way to share his vision. He said he may try to send the memorial to the George W. Bush Presidential Library.