When an informal group of citizens, the Community Partners, asked me to design and create a temporary memorial for the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in Bellevue to honor and commemorate the lives lost on September 11, 2001, I agreed to do so on a volunteer basis with the proviso that the sculpture be created with the participation of other volunteers from the community.
In providing our local community the opportunity to participate in the creation of the Memorial, I hoped to provide a venue to facilitate the process of grieving and healing in a group/community context. I wanted to connect our local community to the people in NYC, at the Pentagon, and in the hills of Pennsylvania.
We began creating the Memorial at the end of June, after both the mayor and the head of the Bellevue Parks Department approved my plan and design. One volunteer compiled the 3014 names officially listed as victims of 9/11, while another organized sessions for the community to write these names on metal medallions, like military dogtags. I conducted sessions to drill holes in the medallions and attach them to horizontal bars.
There were 240 bars with approximately 13 medallions per bar. (Some spaces were left empty to reflect the uncertainty in the count.) A local structural engineering firm donated their expertise to ensure the safety of the sculptures. Private donors and the Bellevue Arts Commission provided funding for materials and professional fabrication of the aluminum frames and base.
On the cold morning of Saturday, September 7, nine volunteers worked with me to attach the bars with the medallions onto the frames and install the completed sculpture in the pond in the downtown Bellevue Park. Finally, we carried 3000 pounds of Frazier river pancake rocks into the pond to cover the base and to give the sculpture the stability required for public safety.
Once the Memorial was in place, each of the medallions moved independently in the wind and sun and rain. The fractured surface of the medallions suggested the notion of a building in pieces, like autumnal leaves (or falling papers), whose moving reflections evoked all of the lost lives. The reflection of the towers in the water of the pond and the aleatory shimmer of the medallions in the wind, sun and rain were all part of the experience of this 9/11 Memorial.
The Memorial remained on site through October 20, 2002.
— Ingrid Lahti, 2002