September 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM
CHATHAM, NJ - Dan Smith, a sheetmetal worker and a Chatham volunteer firefighter, wasn't sure how he was going to turn the donated steel from ground zero of the World Trade Center into a memorial.
"I went down to the DPW (Department of Public Works) garage to take a look at them," Smith said. "It had just rained and there were these doves drinking out of a puddle. When I pulled out in my truck, it scared them and they flew away. That's how I got the idea for what the memorial should be."
Smith was on hand Wednesday night for the 2013 Chatham Borough 911 Remembrance Ceremony, where his vision of white doves can be seen flying between the two pieces of steel designed to represent the World Trade Center at Memorial Park.
Smith, out of local 25 in Northern New Jersey and a Chatham resident, also designed the Reasoner Park Memorial.
The memorial on North Passaic Avenue has two I beams recovered from ground zero and are spaced 9 feet, 11 inches apart and the doves represent, "love, joy, hope and victory.."
There were 13 Chatham residents among the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack and four of the families were represented on Wednesday in the ceremonies that included the Pledge of Allegiance led by the Boy Scouts of America Troop 8 and Cub Scout Troop 8; Rev. Robert J. Mitchell of St. Patrick's Church, Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris, ,and ringing of the bell for the lost lives.
"I was friends with Robin Larkey," Smith said. "I coached his kids in wrestling."
Those Chatham residents who died in the attack were: Donald Adams, 28; Dennis Buckley, 38; Paul S. Gibley, 39; Gary R. Haag, 36; Anthony P. Infante, 47; Robin Larkey, 48; Christian H. Maltby, 37; Philip W. Mastrandre, 42; Peter C. Moustos, 44; Thomas Strada, 41; Kenneth J. Swenson, 40; William R. Tieste, 54; Peter W. West, 54.
Douglas Allan, a member of the 911 Memorial Committee, pointed out that the memorials were built and maitained with private donations and volunteers. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Chatham 911 Memorial Foundation, PO Box 42, Chatham, NJ 07928.