Though the months long reconstruction of Heisler Park ended before the summer season got underway, a contingent of joggers, dog walkers and tourists encountered what looked to be a construction truck loaded with steel beams this week.
The unsuspecting audience witnessed the unfolding of a bit of Laguna Beach history taking shape near the park’s Monument Point, the unloading and initial installation of the city’s newest public sculpture.
The concrete platform will support a monument to the 3,000 victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, being readied in time for the 10th anniversary. Artist Jorg Dubin’s “Semper Memento” (always remember) was fitted with a hexagonal metal base holding portions of two beams from the devastated World Trade Center. The salvaged debris arrived due to the efforts of Laguna Beach Fire Dept. Capt. Andrew Hill and art patron Mark Porterfield,who defrayed the $19,000 tab for the project.
The City Council approved Laguna artist Dubin’s concept for a memorial from a pool of 10 applicants last month.
As a small forklift slowly inched down the narrow winding pathway from Cliff Drive to the monument site, Dubin and a crew from Laguna Beach’s Praisler Demoliton Co. were straining at ropes to keep the behemoths weighing 612 lbs on course. Praisler, along with Keith E. Gallo, owner of a local construction company, donated time and equipment to the project.
As the beams tenuously rested at their final destination, a sense of the work’s theme of “remembrance, respect and reflection” imbued bystanders.
Cathy Itnyre, a Heisler Park regular and wife of an American Airlines pilot, called the crossed beams awe-inspiring, protectors of the spirits of the victims. “The beams represent the people who ended up under them, and the globe reflects their lives and the beauty of their souls,” she said. (Not yet installed, the chrome-covered globe is pictured on site signage.)
The public is invited to attend the dedication of the sculpture at 11 a.m. on Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of attack on the World Trade Center’s two New York towers and al-Quaeda instigated plane crashes in Washington, D.C., and in Shanksville, Penn.
“We still have a way to go but the piece will be installed way before Sept. 11. We are on the downhill side now,” said Dubin.