QUAKERTOWN, Pa. - As the fourth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack approaches and concrete plans for ground zero seem to come and go like tourist buses, it can often seem as if the void there will never be filled.
But over the last several months, far from the political battles, an artist and a team of assistants have been working in a hangarlike studio here, creating an unusual, sprawling sculpture that will be installed and dedicated near ground zero on Sept. 11, becoming the first substantial permanent memorial in the area.
The bronze sculpture will be an eerily lifelike re-creation of the stump and roots of a sycamore tree that grew for more than 70 years in the churchyard of St. Paul's Chapel. The tree became a potent symbol of sacrifice after 9/11, when it was broken by the blast from the collapsing towers and helped to shield the church from damage. The work will sit at the head of Wall Street on Broadway, in a courtyard of Trinity Church, the Episcopal parish that operates St. Paul's. It will soar 18 feet into the air and spread more than 25 feet across the courtyard, and the tens of thousands of people who visit the ground zero area every week will be able to walk through its undulating root branches.
"This sculpture is not intended as a memorial, just as an artwork," said Steve Tobin, the artist, who came up with the idea for the project in the weeks after the attack, when he read about the sycamore. "But I think this work is going to embody 9/11 for a lot of people."
Yeah...man. I do remember.