The contemporary sculpture at High Rock Park commemorates and remembers the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and is made out of steel from the World Trade Center towers.
The idea for the 9/11 memorial sculpture was originally proposed in 2010 by officers stationed at the Saratoga Springs Naval Support Unit, and the memorial has quickly become a landmark in the Spa City.
The officers contacted Saratoga Arts about bringing steel artifacts from the World Trade Center towers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s storage terminal at Kennedy Airport up to Saratoga Springs.
“We kind of talked it through with them. We weren’t really looking for a memorial per se, as much as a way to translate or transform the material into a work of art,” Joel Reed, executive director at Saratoga Arts, said. “We arrived to the common place that would be a commemorative artwork.”
After months of planning and working out details of bringing the steel to Saratoga, two regional artists, John Van Alstine and Noah Savett, were chosen to excavate the project.
“They shared our vision of transforming the material but respecting it,” Reed said. “It was still going to be recognizable as the steel from the World Trader Center towers.”
The artists named the project “Tempered by Memory.” Reed explained tempering is a process steel goes through — and while the piece is a work of art, it is also made from the steel directly related to the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“It also transcends that tragedy,” he said, “and we are given a sense that the people who visit it find a source of power and a source of transformative beauty that helps everybody in their own personal ways.”
The piece was completed in the summer of 2011, but there was still more work to do in terms of finalizing a site and site-preparation work. “Tempered by Memory” was officially dedicated Sept. 11, 2012.
“Without that tremendous community support, that would never have happened,” Reed said.
The sculpture resides in High Rock Park, a short walking distance from Congress Park and Broadway. Reed said people often tell him that every time they walk by the memorial, there are people gathered around it.
Just a few days ago, Reed was notified that a 9/11 Heroes Run, remembering and honoring the sacrifices of the heroes of that day and those lost in the wars since, is going to take place in Saratoga this Sept. 11. The 5K and one-mile fun run will both start and finish at the memorial.
“In less than a year, it has just become a part of the fabric of Saratoga Springs,” Reed said.