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Thursday, March 13, 2003

Sculptor Brian P. Hanlon stands behind a model of his 9/11 monument that is to be erected at Route 130 and Merchantville Avenue, Pennsauken, by Sept. 11, 2003.

Pennsauken planning 9/11 memorial

Courier-Post Staff

Mayor Bill Orth said he has dreamed of putting up a memorial here to remember the events and heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.

"I want everybody to remember what happened," Orth said. "I want my grandchildren to see it and know it was important."

That dream is on the road to coming true.

On March 5, a resolution was introduced to allow the township committee to borrow $266,000 for the design and construction of a Sept. 11 memorial at Route 130 and Merchantville Avenue, where concrete spells out Pennsauken.

A public hearing and final action will be taken at 5:30 p. m. Wednesday.

Orth hopes to dedicate the sculpture by Sept. 11.

The monument was designed by sculptor Brian P. Hanlon of Toms River, who has made more than 200 public art pieces including memorials, busts and religious statues in his 15- year career.

The bronze monument shows five, life-sized figures of a firefighter, police officer, businessman, emergency medical technician and a police dog. It depicts a scene from that day when terrorists hijacked two airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center towers in New York, killing almost 3,000 people.

The scene shows a black businessman in a suit sitting on a curb with his head down. In one hand is a cell phone, the other is lifeless, and, "he is completely overwhelmed with emotion," Hanlon said.

On one side is a female EMT, standing, with her hand on his shoulder. The other side is a police officer, seated a level above the businessman. Next to the police officer is a German shepherd police dog, standing on the curb. Behind the police officer is a firefighter, tipping his helmet.

"It's about 9/11 and it's also about this town," said Hanlon, 40. "They're simply doing their job but by doing their job, it has a profound effect on the community."

Hanlon said all the figures will be about 6 feet tall and the whole monument will take up a space of about 15 feet by 15 feet.

According to Orth, the site at the center of the township will be redesigned.

"Our intent is to have a circle of honor surrounding the sculpture," Orth said.

The circle will be made of 12-inch by 6-inch granite or paving blocks that the township will sell to help defray the cost.

A 30-foot, black granite wall will be erected behind the monument as a backdrop, engraved with the words, "We shall never forget" and the date will be etched below it.

Sidewalks, lighting and landscaping will be incorporated into the redesign.

Rowan University sociology professor John Myers said it' s a common practice for people to put up memorials to remember important historic events.

"Look at the museums and memorials for the Holocaust," Myers said.

And since Sept. 11 was a huge turning point in our history, "it makes a lot of sense to do that," Myers said.

"When something is important to us, we want people who come after us to know that this was a very important thing and not to be forgotten," Myers said.

On the Web
Hanlon Studio -
Pennsauken Township Web site -

Reach Karen Kennedy-Hall at (856) 317-7828 or

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