GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — For so many people in our country, it was hard to move forward after this unthinkable tragedy. Americans felt for one another in an indescribable way.
People wanted to help but didn’t know how to. For one Greensboro artist, he gave back the only way he knew how—by creating a symbol of hope.
“Hope lies in ground zero. Dwells among the ashes,” said sculptor Jim Gallucci as he read off some of the letters attached to his creation.
The letters were written by people from all over the country.
“‘We still feel as though we’ve been stabbed in the heart,’ Amy Kault, age 12,” another letter read.
They lie atop the pentagon-shaped base of Gallucci’s 9/11 sculpture.
Nearly everyone remembers where they were when they caught wind of the tragic news the hot September day the twin towers came crashing down in New York City.
“’God bless America,’ Lindsay Klock,” another read.
“We were on the road from Greensboro to Fayetteville to install artwork and we stopped at Biscuitville and we’re watching the two towers burning and one falling, and we just looked at each other,” Gallucci recalled.
The days that followed left behind lingering feelings of uncertainty in the country.
“We were all going through sorrow and loss, but at the same time just bewilderment,” Gallucci said.
Gallucci knew he could channel that pain and energy to create something inspiring.
“I realized you do what you do best, and you do it in a great way. I said, let’s make a great sculpture,” he said.
One phone call led to another and he found the scrapyard in New Jersey that housed all the debris from ground zero. In November 2001, he received 36,000 pounds of steel.
“If you noticed the WTC, that was actually burned in there, he explained while pointing to the sculpture.
It stands for world trade center.
10,000 lbs of the World Trade Center now stands 23-feet tall in the heart of downtown Greensboro.
“Because of how it tapers, you can actually see what floor it was on,” Gallucci explained. “I want Greensboro to be like Florence, Italy; we’re going there to go see the art.”
The beams that hold it up are the same ones that once held up the towers. The silver metal pieces draped over the sculpture from top to bottom representing…
“That moment when the building began to collapse, and papers just began fluttering everywhere,” he said.
And the gates…
“That time where the doors or the gates opened up from our hearts to all Americans to help heal,” he explained.
Still, 20 years later…
“Faith welds these gates together,” he said.
This 9/11 tribute doesn’t end here at the intersection of MLK Jr Drive and South Elm Street.
“We took some of the steel and made a smaller 9/11,” he said.
Imprinted with silhouette cutouts of the people who were on scene that horrific day
“These are the fire people. I believe that’s a policeman and these are people fleeing from the building,” he said.
Another 5,000 lb beam will lay on top of the sculpture.
“Rather the whole symbolic of the weight of the whole tragedy,” Gallucci explained.
Gallucci hopes to have this one standing in Reidsville just in time for the 20th anniversary.
“We sang songs that remembered those who had died,” another letter read.
So, the next time you see one of Gallucci’s pieces he hopes you look at it and know this
“That somebody cared,” he said.
The 9/11 sculpture didn’t always sit in downtown Greensboro.
It’s had stops in Dallas, Texas, Redhook, and Syracuse, New York and Fayetteville North Carolina.