"All the feelings that we've been through came back to me, tears simply fell from my eyes," said Miriam Avraham, who lost her daughter Alona in the New York City World Trade Center attack eight years ago. Abraham attended a ceremony dedicating a new Jerusalem monument in memory of the victims of the September 11 attack on the United States.
The monument, which was designed by artist Eliezer Weishoff at an estimated cost of NIS 10 million ($2.6 million) is nine meters high and is made up of a waving American is transformed into a memorial flame. This is one of the only monuments outside of the US that features the names of all the 2,980 victims of the attacks as well as their home countries. Five Israelis are among the dead.
Weishoff began thinking of a way to honor the memories of the terror attack's victims eight years ago. He originally thought of designing a medallion. After receiving then Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert's blessing and the approval of environmental organizations, the sculptor contacted the Jewish National Fund and built the monument together with the JNF.
The monument in Jerusalem (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"The concept was a burning torch with the American flag waving with its folds creating the upward flow of lines," Weishoff explained, "I made sure that the New York City municipality sent us a piece of the ruins from the Twin Towers and we planted it as a basis for the statue itself."
This is not the first time Weishoff's work is dedicated to terror victims. He also designed the monument commemorating the three women killed in the Apropo coffee house bombing in Tel Aviv in 1997.
The Jerusalem monument is not the only one in Israel dedicated to the victims of September 11. Rishon Lezion, Ness Ziona and Beersheba all have monuments commemorating the victims.
"I would go to the park in Rishon Lezion," Avraham said, "I would place flowers and light a candle. Them they built us a monument in Ashdod (the city she lives in) and now I have another place to go. This is a central location; across it you see the graves on the Mount of Rest."
Just two years ago the US authorities announced that Avraham's daughter, Alona's remains were found at Ground Zero. "I lived in uncertainty for six years, as if she was alive," the mother told Ynet.
"She wanted to come back to Israel so bad for Yom Kippur. There are isolated cases where you hear a plane explodes and remains are found. In a case like this, in such a situation, finding remains for us after six years is as if she wanted to come home."
Along with the bereaved families, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was present at the event, as well as US Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham and other ambassadors of countries that lost nationals in the attacks.
World JNF Chairman Efi Stenzler said, "The events of September 11 and the attack on the World Trade Center are criteria for the free world's approach towards terror organizations operating against the State of Israel since the dawn of Zionism."