The 9/11 Memorial monument of the Diocese of Rockville Centre's Catholic Cemeteries was built to remember those who lost their lives during the September 11, 2001 tragedy. In addition, the monument is meant to honor the many individuals who came to the aid of others in need, during and after the tragedy.
There were two kinds of sacrifice during the 9/11 tragedy: the sacrifice of the innocent and the sacrifice of oneself for others. Those who died in the 9/11 tragedy were innocent victims of political fanaticism. The hateful, unjust acts of the terrorists exemplify self-absorbed human beings at their worst. Conversely, the firefighters, EMS workers, police, fellow victims and countless individuals who helped others, often sacrificing their own lives, exemplify human beings at their best. The tragedy was a juxtaposition of the worst and the best of the human race; the worst hatred next to the greatest love.
The most profound symbol of the juxtaposition of these two kinds of sacrifice is the Pieta. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the innocent lamb was cruelly sacrificed. However, the Pieta reflects not only this tragedy, but Christ’s great love and self sacrifice for all of humanity: the worst hatred next to the greatest love.
As we enter the second decade since the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001, it has been the intention of the Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Rockville Centre to erect a memorial to call to mind the event that will be forever etched in our memory and will remain a part of our national psyche. Since that day, we have worked to provide a place in one of our local Catholic cemeteries for a setting where the names of those who died would be memorialized and where their families could come for remembrance and meditation. As one people in Christ’s body, whose membership does not expire with death, we hope our cemeteries provide a place to renew faith and affirm hope in the resurrection and the eternal mercy of God.
The memorial erected in 2004 in the small section of land (known as Section 29) that had been set aside for the victims in the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury. The central feature of the memorial is a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta.
As a background for the statue, there is a large eight-foot wide by twelve-foot high cruciform shape of black granite. On this we have and continue to inscribe the names and occupations of those who died on September 11th as requested by their family. (This has been done at no cost to the families, but will require the permission of the next of kin.) The inscription of the names on a massive piece of black granite is a powerful image of lasting memorialization. The cross, centered as the monument, reminds us that God was present in the midst of the crisis. It invites us to look carefully in order to see the ever present God. These two structures are joined together in a stone-paved plaza, uniting the memory of those who died with the redemptive death of the Savior Lord. It also provides a place of peace, meditation and consolation to all families. The shrine is a fitting and sacred memorial to those who perished and is seen as a place of solace and hope for the families they left behind.
9/11 Memorial Booklet (updated 9/2011) Dedication Booklet (2004)