Connecticut's 9-11 Living Memorial
Since September 2001, a firm resolve has grown among all Americans that the memory of those who died would not fade. In May 2002, when approached by several private citizens and the Connecticut Office of Family Support, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection agreed that Sherwood Island State Park in Westport should be the home of Connecticut's official memorial to the victims of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. A contemplative memorial space on the “the point” at Sherwood Island State Park was designed by Connecticut Landscape Architect Shavaun Towers. The memorial features a 9-foot long granite memorial stone, set into a grassed area and oriented so that visitors face towards the Manhattan skyline as they read the inscription. To the left is a bed of flowering shrubs. Behind the visitor are four granite benches for rest and reflection and behind the benches, four large trees provide shade and shelter. The finishing touches are the pines and cedar trees set into beds of dune grass positioned behind and to the seaward side of the four memorial trees. The beds and walkways are edged in granite.
- The memorial was constructed, in part, with funds from the U.S. Forest Service Living Memorials Project grant program. Monies from the grant were used, along with private donations of money, time and material to build the memorial.
- Prior to September 11, 2001 the twin towers of the World Trade Center were visible from Sherwood Island. On September 11, 2001 and for several days following, smoke from the former World Trade Center was visible from this location. Although never activated, the Governor’s office and the Office of Emergency Management mobilized to establish a staging area at the park to be used for support to New York City after the tragedy.
- When the viewer faces the inscription on the memorial stone they are oriented across the Sound to the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City. The inscription reads, "The citizens of Connecticut dedicate this living memorial to the thousands of innocent lives lost on September 11, 2001 and to the families who loved them."
- The memorial was dedicated during ceremonies in September 2002.
- One hundred fifty-three individual memorial names, flanking the main memorial stone, were installed and dedicated during ceremonies in September 2003.
- No remains are interred at the memorial.
- Bio-plaques, designed by Connecticut graphic artists Mary Ann Rumney and Ruth Baxter and a sculpture, by Connecticut artists David Boyajian and Matt Rink, incorporating artifacts from the World Trade Center, were installed in the park’s main pavilion and dedicated during ceremonies commemorating the tenth anniversary in September 2011.
- Donations for on-going upkeep of the memorial may be made by check to, "Department of Energy and Environmental Protection". Write "9/11 Memorial Donation" in the memo line on the check or in the transmittal letter and mail to DEEP-State Parks & Public Outreach Division, 9/11 Memorial Donation, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106.
- A parking fee is charged at the park, daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on weekends from the third Saturday in April to Memorial Day and from Labor Day through the third weekend in September. Connecticut’s 9-11 immediate family members have been given lifetime parking passes. Parking fees to the public are waived on September 11 until 2025.
- New parking pass requests are directed to CT Helps Office of Family Support (860) 832-5335. For parking pass replacements call DEEP-State Parks (860) 424-3200.