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.
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.
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?