Trade Center debris serves as reminder in downtown

Grand Junction artist Pat Olson’s “Remember” sculpture on the corner of 7th and Main near Avalon. It has a piece of the World Trade Center in it.

On the southwest corner of Seventh and Main streets resides local sculptor Pat Olson’s memorial to 9/11, a piece that addresses the tragedy in various ways and includes an element Olson couldn’t create on his own: a steel beam from the World Trade Center wreckage.

Olson worked with the Downtown Development Authority in 2009 to request a 200-pound piece of steel debris recovered from the World Trade Center from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“It’s almost like a religious relic. It has that same kind of feeling,” Olson said.

Olson treated the beam with the utmost respect, taking care not to reshape or change the piece in any way.

“The only thing I did was remove some of the salt by bathing it in distilled water. I tried to touch it as little as possible,” he said.

The beam was worked into a sculpture commissioned by the DDA for a permanent Art on the Corner display.

“They wanted a piece where people could come and sit,” Olson said.

He created “Remember,” which is based on the fork-like structural elements of the World Trade Center. Steel trees represent the people lost in Pennsylvania, and the human figures salute the New York firefighters and police officers who lost their lives that day trying to save others.

The bench is in the shape of the Pentagon, and the sculpture is on permanent display in Grand Junction’s downtown near the Avalon Theatre.

“It’s a touchstone that really makes this event real,” Olson said.

It was important to Olson to create a place where people could seek closure and remember how the events of that day affected our nation, he said.

“I hope they can come here and come to grips with what happened,” he said.

Olson did request a piece of wreckage from the Pentagon but never received a response. He said it is unlikely that request will be fulfilled.


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