Sharing the Memorials Registry: Westchester County’s “The Rising”

Sharing the Memorials Registry: Westchester County’s “The Rising”

Courtesy Frederic Schwartz Architects

Sharing the Memorials Registry is a series devoted to highlighting the diverse ways in which individuals and communities commemorate the 9/11 victims through the creation of public memorials. Learn more at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s Memorials Registry, which tracks 9/11 memorials throughout the world.

The Rising, a memorial by architect Frederick Schwartz, sits in Kensico Dam Park in Valhalla, N.Y., against the backdrop of the Kensico Dam. The memorial honors the men and women from Westchester County who were victims of the 9/11 attacks. It is named after the Bruce Springsteen song “The Rising” written in response to the 9/11 attacks, which includes this verse:

Spirits above and behind me
Faces gone black, eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood forever bind me
Lord as I stand before your fiery light 

Forming an unbroken circle, the 123 individual strands, one for each victim, emerge from a circular footprint. “The Rising” includes a quote about each person, engraved along the outside of the memorial's circular base, as chosen by their families.

The memorial is at the intersection of many pathways and viewpoints in the park, extending its presence. Its visual lightness is a counterpoint to the solidity of the dam. It is open, can be approached from all directions and allows persons of all ages and abilities to move through it and experience it close-up.

“The intertwined strands (like DNA) rise 80 feet from the ground reaching upward to the heavens,” said architect Frederick Schwartz in his artist statement. “They are bound together in a literal and symbolic gesture exemplifying the strength of the Westchester community and the families who lost loved ones.”

The thin, lightweight individual parts intertwine to create a stable structure, yet they also sway gently in the wind. The reflective stainless steel changes with the light of day, lending a dynamic quality to the structure, which appears even more startling at night.

By Lester J. Levine

Lester J. Levine is the author of “9/11 Memorial Visions: Innovative Concepts from the 2003 World Trade Center Memorial Site Memorial Competition,” (McFarland, 2016). Visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museums Registries to learn more or to submit a memorial from your community.