Bridgehampton Fire Department Finishes First Part Of September 11 Memorial


In front of the Bridgehampton Firehouse now stands a rusted steel statue, bent and folded into what looks like a flag blowing in the wind.

The structure is actually the first installment of a memorial commemorating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Designed by Dean Foster, a member of the Bridgehampton Fire District’s Board of Commissioners, the steel flag is made up of parts from the World Trade Center itself, including a segment of a high beam that is welded onto the top of the flag-like figure.

“We decided to go with some kind of structure that announced what happened there,” Mr. Foster said, explaining that his creation represents the power, chaos and drama of the event that took place almost 13 years ago. “We want it for anybody who died that day.”

The memorial, which is located in a brick encirclement in front of the firehouse, currently consists of the new statue accompanied by three poles that each bear a flag that is special to the events of that tragic day. John Degen, president of Liberty Iron Works in Southampton, helped Mr. Foster with the statue by rolling the steel pieces so that they appear to be waving like an actual flag.

The memorial will eventually include benches to honor those aboard U.S. Airlines Flight 93, who lost their lives that day after terrorists took control of their plane and crashed it near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as well as those who died on board American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Sag Harbor native Linda Gronlund, 46, was aboard Flight 93 when it crashed.

Other plans for the memorial call for the installation of plaques, landscaping and light fixtures, Mr. Foster said.

Fire District Board of Commissioners Chairman Ray Topping Jr. said the fire department requested the steel pieces from the World Trade Center Foundation Inc., which oversees the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Manhattan. Mr. Topping also said the Bridgehampton memorial should be finished in a few months, with a possible formal dedication to follow.

“We wanted something respectful,” he said.

Bridgehampton Fire Chief Gary Horsburgh said he remains hopeful that the memorial can be finished by July, when the fire department hosts its annual cocktail party. “We’re working on it,” he said. “It means a lot.”

When Mr. Foster designed the concept for the steel statue, he said he kept the public in mind and remains hopeful that visitors would appreciate the creation.

Bridgehampton resident Marvin Chudnoff, 73, certainly does. As he drove by the firehouse last week, Mr. Chudnoff slowed his car down to get a better look at the creation before pulling into the firehouse driveway. He said he knew exactly where the steel beams came from.

“It looks wonderful,” said Mr. Chudnoff, who noted that he worked in an office in the World Trade Center before it was destroyed. “I think it’s appropriate that any town has a memorial. It’s something no one’s going to forget.”

Even though Bridgehampton is nearly 100 miles away from Ground Zero, Mr. Chudnoff said it is important that there is a local memorial because many town residents also worked inside or near the World Trade Center just like him, and have a personal connection to the tragedy.

Mr. Foster agrees.

“We all know of somebody or someone who does,” he said. “It touched everybody.”

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