Located UNDERWATER, 7 miles south of the tip of Key West, Florida As the FIRST UNDERWATER 9/11 MEMORIAL

Name: BLUE FREEDOM        Placement:  9/6/2021

 Location: 7 miles south of the tip of Key West, Florida as


Curator: The City of Key West, Florida

At 24º27’N, 81º44’W. Approximately seven miles south of Key West International Airport in 140 feet of water in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The site was chosen 10 years ago, with input from interested parties. Permitting was required from 18 different agencies. More than 130 dives were conducted to survey the site. It is hard barren bottom with no coral and no submerged cultural resources (historic wrecks).

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In 2019, I had the idea to place an underwater 9/11 memorial. Mike Campbell, Marine Project Manager of Lee County, Florida and Matt Johnson of the IMAG History and Science Museum in Fort Myers, Florida, connected me to Joe Weatherby, president of Artificial Reefs International  Joe with the help of many others helped sink as an artificial reef, The Hoyt S. Vandenberg Ship in 2009, after years of cleanup and permissions.  This ship is currently the 2nd largest artificial reef in the world.  Once Joe and I started working together, he asked if I would consider placing the BLUE FREEDOM memorial sculptures on the deck of the Vandenberg. I agreed and then Joe commandeered Bob Holston and Chris Green to help with the underwater memorial.  Bob, residing in Key West, is a major advocate of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, owned a dive shop in the Keys for over 45 years, and has been contracted with branches of the United States Military for diving instruction.   Joe and Bob worked with rallying the City, Military, Police, Firemen, and Government officials, including the Marine Sanctuary.  They received the permissions needed and I am grateful for their huge efforts. I am showing here, the underwater phase one of this 9/11 Memorial as two pieces of the concrete slurry wall that once surrounded the World Trade Center.  (In 2022, a large 8-ton sculpture as the Blue Freedom 2, was placed at the VFW Post 3911 in Key West. ) 

Bob Holston then introduced me to retired army Master Diver and Commander of the Key West VFW, Chris Green. Chris and his associates were the ones to take these first two pieces down on the deck of the ship on September 6, 2021.  It was a momentous occasion for it marked the first time a 9/11 memorial made out of actual salvaged pieces from the World Trade Center, was placed as an underwater 9/11 memorial.  I transported these two pieces from my art studio in Saint James City, Florida after driving to meet with Chris.  On September 9, 2021, Chris made history when he was assisted by a couple Navy Seals, secured on the deck of the Vandenberg, THE FIRST UNDERWATER 9/11 MEMORIAL MADE OUT OF ACTUAL ARTIFACTS FROM THE WORLD TRADE CENTER FROM NEW YORK CITY.  This is a historical placement for sure.  We as human beings are often attracted to the amazing wonders of the world.  Not everyone will be able to dive this site, but we will all be impressed at the photos and videos that will come out of this, to show us all the beauty of BLUE FREEDOM 1’S final resting place.  We then had a commemorative dive out at the Vandenberg reef site on September 11, 2021, for the 20th year anniversary of 9/11. There were many boats on hand for this event.  A 45-foot flag donated by the city of Morris, Illinois was part of the ceremonial dive. It was brought down by diver Scott M. Belt, Associate Circuit Judge of the Grundy County Courthouse of Illinois. This flag was flown just above the BLUE FREEDOM 1 sculptures underwater as it was attached to the ship.


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Enjoy these exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and moments captured involving this memorial sculpture


Special Events, News Articles, Behind-The-Scenes Stories of Creation, Installation, and more

On the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a 43-foot long American flag and phase one of a 9/11 memorial sculpture made of parts of the World Trade Center, were placed on an artificial reef and former military ship, the USNS Vandenberg. This event......

The article provides a brief overview of Sandra Priest, an American artist known for her sculptures and public art installations. It highlights her involvement in various projects, including the creation of memorials dedicated to the victims of 9/11. The article mentions her collaboration with New......

As the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, approaches, our collective memory turns to the heroes and the indomitable spirit displayed during that dark day in American history. One remarkable project, Project 911up, led by the talented artist Sandra Priest, is......

We are so honored to have placed two sculptures now in Key West, Florida. The City of Key West government site covered our installations. This is what they had to say: Pine Island artist Sandra Priest accompanied her two massive works that were delivered to......

We are honored to be covered in this write up featured on You can read the original article by clicking here. Here is what they had to say: ANA ROSA MENGOTTI MEAURIO journalist for EFE Translated from Spanish to English Practically the only thing......

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