Never Forget: 9/11 Monument Stands Tall in Fort Lauderdale

On a day we will never forget, the City of Fort Lauderdale and Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, the 501(c)(3) organization responsible for the planning, programming, beautification and promotion of Riverwalk Park, will dedicate the new 9/11 Memorial Monument along the banks of the New River.

At 9 a.m. Friday, the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the monument to honor the victims and first responders that features a segment of the Port Authority rail system from the World Trade Center will be dedicated. The ceremony is closed to the public because of COVID-19 restrictions, but it will be shown live on Facebook at @CityofFortLauderdale.

Everyone is invited to stop by after noon to visit the monument on the New River, south of the intersection of Southwest First Avenue and West Las Olas Boulevard

The process to acquire the historic World Trade Center segment began almost three years ago after the idea was sparked by a National Public Radio discussion.

After learning from the NPR discussion that valuable pieces of the World Trade Center wreckage were going to be eligible for acquisition, Genia Ellis, CEO of Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale,  and other members of the board, decided to offer a proposal on why the city was deserving of receiving the segment.

“There’s a large tie between the Northeast and South Florida,” Ellis said. “There are many residents from the New England and New York area that are residents of our city. So there was a good correlation to that. After being selected to receive the segment, our next challenge was how do you get a 15-foot piece of the PATH rail to South Florida,” Ellis continued. “Three firemen on their own time drove to New York and picked it up. "

Artist rendering of the 9/11 monument on the Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The Monument

The monument displays a PATH rail segment from the tracks from the World Trade Center wreckage, in an uplifted position held by granite support pillars, which refers to the solid bedrock of Manhattan that supports its massive buildings. The granite support pillars are in pairs, joined by an internally illuminated acrylic spine that suggests the hope of light emerging out of darkness. The base of the monument will carry the story line of the memorial and light will be included to be sure the monument is respectfully lit at night. The artifact location is central to Riverwalk and provides visibility from all vantage points.

Photos provided by EDSA

To learn more about the history and donate to the 9/11 monument project, visit www.goriverwalk.com/9-11-monument