The Forgotten Memorial

Today is the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This attack resulted in the loss of 3,000 lives. We memorialize our dead with monuments and celebrations so that we never forget the travesty caused when humans wage war on other humans over political or religious differences.

The only other foreign attack on US soil also resulted in the loss over 3,000 lives and occurred on September 11, 2001, when the US was attacked by religious extremists. Airliners crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

Robert von Hasseln, Amsterdam’s Administrator of Community and Economic Development who also holds the position of City Historian, wanted to make sure that Amsterdamians never forget that day when the hijackers took over American Airline flight 11 that changed course in the air over Amsterdam, New York, eventually crashing into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Von Hasseln arranged to have a surviving column of the World Trade Center’s north tower transported to the City of Amsterdam to be memorialized in a fitting presentation at Riverlink Park.

Rob von Hasseln with World Trade Center artifact(photo by Ed Munger, Jr.)

12/14/2011 Rob von Hasseln with World Trade Center artifact
(photo by Ed Munger, Jr.)

The 11,000 pound, 18 foot column was unceremoniously dumped on the East end of Riverlink Park over a year ago.  There was supposed to be a monument built around the erect column with a public dedication ceremony in Spring of 2012. On December 15, 2011, Amsterdam’s Mayor Thane described the proposed memorial to Recorder reporter Jarrett Carroll;

The cement column will be planted upright into the ground once the ground is workable again. We will be mounting it as an obelisk on the section of land between the cafe and the blacktop, There will be a circular mediation area surrounding it with trees, explanatory signage and benches. It will be a strong symbol that will serve as both a visual and abstract representation.

The memorial was never built, the public dedication ceremony never happened. There was not even a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in 2012. The World Trade Center artifact remains where it was dumped over a year ago, hidden behind an event tent purchased by the City for private party catering by the concessionaire of Riverlink Café.

7/14/2011 World Trade Center Artifact

7/14/2011 World Trade Center Artifact

Today I wanted to photograph the mistreated artifact once again for this article but was met with stiff opposition from the City of Amsterdam in the form of a locked gate.

12/7/2012 No access to Riverlink Park

12/7/2012 No access to Riverlink Park

Once again the citizens of the City of Amsterdam were let down by our elected officials making promises that cannot be kept. Maybe they are waiting for the next election season to build and dedicate this memorial. Wouldn’t that look good on campaign flyers?

Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, History, Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

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5 thoughts on “The Forgotten Memorial

  1. Rob

    nice peace Jerry

  2. Diane

    A couple of thoughts Jerry. First, the tent was purchased by the city for use by the caterer for party rentals. The city does receive a portion of the rent, albeit, a very small portion. I spoke against it at a council meeting, but there is no getting around spending money. Even the contract with the concessionaire is a sweetheart deal in his favor.

    Secondly, the city has put out a request for proposal for a 62,000.00 project at Riverlink park. I do not know what it is as there were no details for the public on the agenda items. Maybe this is what it is for, since almost everything else down there, is done thru a grant. Just an idea. You will have to ck with city hall for an answer.

    As for the gate being locked, it is off season now and it 9is generally locked for the winter. I think the APD might have a key, and parks and rec.

    • The contract for the concession should have gone out for competitive bid as required by law, it did not. The concession catered to high end clientele and often had no food available for concertgoers who wanted a quick hotdog or hamburger.

      I believe the RFP you mentioned was to contract for connecting the (yet-to-be-constructed) pedestrian bridge to Riverlink Park as I recently had a firm from Albany contact me about using one of my photos for their proposal.

      Riverlink Park is not privately owned, it belongs to the citizens of Amsterdam. A city park and should always be open to the public. It is a place to walk dogs, take a stroll after lunch or to take photographs. Access to the Mohawk River is vital to our redevelopment. What could be more unwelcoming than a lock and chain?

  3. diane

    I have found out that the money is for the repair and repainting of the elevator. Do not know where the money will come from for the memorial.

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