“We will never forget”, is the phrase that has been famously repeated over and over again since the devastating attack on New York City on September 11, fourteen years ago. Yet, this giant monument erected on the shores of Bayonne, New Jersey, just 16 km from New York City has been largely forgotten.
“To the Struggle Against World Terrorism” also called “The Tear Drop Memorial” stands at the end of the former Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey, and is the first thing you see as you approach New York City by ship from the Atlantic, well before the Statue of Liberty comes into view. It is a 30-meter-tall slab of steel and coated in bronze, with a large jagged crack running down the middle. An immense stainless steel teardrop hangs inside the crack. The eleven sides of the monument's base bear granite name plates, on which are etched the names of those who died in the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
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Some people have likened the monument to the female sexual organ, but lets not get too obscene. It was a gift – an expression of grief – from the people of Russia to the US. Vladimir Putin was himself there when construction began and Bill Clinton attended the dedication ceremony in 2006. Since then, it has been forgotten.
“The Tear Drop Memorial” was made by Moscow-based sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, who designed the controversial three-hundred-foot-tall statue of “Peter the Great” that dominates the skyline of central Moscow. “Peter the Great” is a monstrosity — it has been called one of the ugliest building in the world. Thankfully, “The Tear Drop Memorial” is graceful.
Tsereteli flew to New York shortly after the September 11 attacks and visited Ground Zero. He decided that he wanted to create a memorial to the victims, but felt that building one on top of the bones of the dead on Ground Zero would be inappropriate. Instead, he found and settled on a never before seen area of the peninsula at Bayonne.
“From this vantage point, the Twin Towers looked almost as if they were in fact one building. His bronze monument reflects that image with a jagged tear through the center, and a 4-ton nickel tear hanging from the top,” reads the description from the monument’s official website.
The monument cost $12 million to build which was paid by the artist himself.
Also see: The National 9/11 Memorial Museum
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