By Mr. Andrew Allen, USAG Italy Fire and Emergency ServicesSeptember 23, 2016
PADOVA -- On September 11, 2001, a horrific attack on the United States killed 2,753 citizens who represented 115 nationalities, 343 firefighters and 60 police officers. As the World Trade Center towers fell in New York City, the attack affected people all around the world.
Fifteen years later, American and Italian dignitaries, along with firefighters from U.S. Army Garrison Italy and the Padova Vigili del fuoco (firefighters), participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the "Memory and Light" memorial in Padova to honor those who perished.
Led by Wes Leisinger, USAG Italy deputy to the garrison commander, Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dennison, USAG Italy, and Arthur Doss, assistant fire chief, the USAG Italy firefighters paid honor to everyone who lost their lives and pledged to continue to carry the torch and "Never Forget."
"Memory and Light" was inaugurated in 2005 and is the only 9/11 memorial of its kind in all of Europe. It lies only a short distance from the famous frescoes of the Scrovegni Chapel and the prestigious University of Padova (founded in 1222).
At the time of the memorial's inauguration, then-president of Italy Carlo Azeglio Ciampi said the work of art could be a symbol to increase awareness of the ideals of peace, democracy and solidarity.
The memorial's design represents an open book made of glass, with "pages" that resemble the facade of the Twin Towers. The position of one page points directly at the Statue of Liberty.
Embedded in the "book," visitors will see a six-meter beam that came from the South Tower of the World Trade Center. This is the only piece of the tower on the continent made into a memorial for remembrance.
City of Padova officials entrusted the memorial's design to Daniel Libeskind, master planner for the overall design and reconstruction of the entire new World Trade Center complex. Anyone with the desire to visit the memorial can use the following address for GPS: Via Giotto, 13, Padova, Italy 35137.