A 9/11 memorial in Thurston County with nowhere to go

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A 9-11 memorial with nowhere to goBy Steve Kiggins

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.

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  • Michelle

    And how did 9-11 NOT have lasting significance for the people Washington State exactly? I think the piece of art is brilliant!

  • John Gilday

    Let me see, we have an artist who poured 10 years of effort and a respected brain-trust into the design and production of the artwork and it was 'rejected' by a bureaucrat whose only skills are 1) getting into a union that keeps the taxpayers poor and 2) shuffling paperwork and looking/acting busy.

    Bitch please…

  • Dawn Anderson

    Anyone up for a change.org petition? Let's tell the state commission that 9/11 is of lasting significance for the people of Washington state.

  • Jennifer S.

    Shame on you, Gov. Locke. 10 yrs creating this Memorial and no one guided this man, who created a beautiful piece of art, on the requirements, so it would be placed at our capital, as originally planned. As a volunteer firefighter for many years, who paid respect PERSONALLY, to NYC firefighters after 9/11…..I am APPALLED!
    What requirements are more important then honoring the many innocent lives and the many heroic lives lost? Ye who forgets the tax payers whom put you in office, pay your income and fight for your life when called upon, are too firefighters… obviously does not understand the meaning of family or the "brotherhood" of belonging to a battalion.

  • Travis

    How sad……. our federal, state, and local government have become completely disconnected from the people they represent. They lie to us about their intentions until we elect them, at which point they carry on with their own personal political agenda.

  • Mary Crosbie

    In total agreement with all the previous comments. The government of this state has no idea of the interests of the people. How it can be said that 9-11 had no significant and lasting bearing on the people of WA state is incomprehensible. Do the politicians in this state have any common sense or intellect? I think statements such as the one made in rejecting this beautiful piece of artwork shows just how ignorant and lacking in intelligence they are. I say yes; bring on a change.org petition! It seems to be the only way the public can be heard.

  • Adonis

    I can't believe they would tell him that it wasn't conformed to their standards.. It is a beautiful way to commerate a terrible tragedy that befell us that fatal day in 2001. The tragedy is as much apart of Washington as it is for the people of New York, that day we as a country were attacked not just New York, but around the world. I hope a petition gets started so we can get this monument to it's rightful place at the state capitol.

  • deborah buttz

    9-11 touched everyone one north south east and west ,we sat with eyes glued to the tv, as tears rolled down them, our hearts hurt and throb for all the people lost, and loss of a , family member, of a friend ,we here in Washington have family and friend's all across this nation and yes in the trade centers, in the pentagon in the planes that crashed …what do you mean Washington -had no significant, was it not our own people our own blood that spilled that day….YES IT WAS, we deserve that statue and honor it with pride

  • David L Friend

    What is wrong with the Department of Enterprise Services in Washington State?

    The Washington state commission told John Jackson (Spirit of America Foundation) 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.

    Are they all smoking pot or something up there in Olympia? Rejecting this monument using this awkward if not unbelievable excuse, saying "because it doesn’t honor an event of lasting significance for the people of Washington state"

    What? Has Washington state seceded from the union now? Are we Washingtonians not part of the USA anymore? Come on you guys smarten up already and put down the pipe and put you feet in the memorials foot prints, join hands with the other patriots standing proud and find a place for this memorial in Washington State before we loose our chance to have this to another state!