ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s already one of the most spectacular vistas in all of St. Louis – the field of green and the fountains and reflecting pool of Art Hill in Forest Park.
But now it’s being transformed into a tribute to the victims of 9/11 for this weekend’s 10th anniversary observance.
The project is the brainchild of Rick Randall with Pace Properties, who spent nearly a year coordinating the collection of thousands of 3-by-5 foot flags that will each be mounted on a 10-foot pole.
Randall’s initial idea, sparked by a similar effort at Pepperdine University in California, quickly blossomed into a project that’s taken hundreds of helpers and thousands of man-hours to go from concept to reality.
“Starting this past June, we had a lot of help,” Randall tells KMOX News. “Guarantee Electric let us use their warehouse to assemble the flags. We had about 300 people helping. Each flag, because it was individualized, took a while to assemble.”
He’s referring to the fact that each flag will contain vital information about one of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
The flags started going up Friday morning and will be in place in time for a ceremony this Sunday at 8:46 am, the moment that the first plane struck the World Trade Center ten years ago.
Then the flags will stay in place through Monday September 19th, at which time people will be able to claim one of the flags in exchange for a charitable donation to the Injured Marine Fund.
He could also use volunteers to show up at Art Hill around 9 a.m. on the 19th to help take the flag display down.
The entire effort has grown from something that Randall initially believed he could complete in his own garage with the help of a couple of family members, to something that’s going to cost an estimated $70,000 to complete.
He’s enlisted a host of local firms to underwrite the project, including Pace Properties (his employer), Castle Contracting, Guarantee Electric, Stock & Associates, the Mid-America Chevy Dealers, and the Daniel and Henry Company.
Randall says it will all be worth it to see those flags adorning Art Hill.
“It’s really about those three-thousand people, and about the men and women that have kept us free and safe since then,” he says. “I hope it will give everyone a chance to really reflect, and I think it will be spectacular.”
Copyright KMOX Radio