Rich Parrish and I originally wanted the VICTORII REBUILD sculpture to be placed at ground zero, thinking, of course they would want this! Well, it was my first lesson in bureaucracy. Having never been involved in this type of red tape, I guess we were naive. 9/11 evokes the most emotional responses and I soon learned that trying to give this gift needed more thought. The 9/11 memorial had been underway for many many years before this project was even thought of. I was disappointed, but knew the families of loved ones lost, the curators of the museum and the existing architects had already long ago thought out what that memorial was going to look like. Every square inch was spoken for. So we needed a home for our idea, now made into form.
That home came when then Mayor John Callahan, phoned me with Rich on the other end and he asked me if I thought Bethlehem would be a good place for the first sculpture. He stated that since all the aggregate stone had come from the Lehigh Valley, used in the concrete mixture, that he thought of it as a coming home piece. I of course agreed and the plans were made to ship it to Pennsylvania.
The reception was wonderful and emotional. It was dedicated as the 10 year anniversary piece of 9/11, in the name of John Krapf. John was the man who agreed to keep all the concrete blocks on his land as Rich salvaged the 17 pieces. John wanted to be the one to find the artist, but he passed away suddenly, in his second home in Marco Island, Florida before he had that chance. Rich took up the torch 9 months later and contacted me himself. John was bigger than life according to all that I have spoken to. He was sorely missed and it was very fitting that this piece be dedicated in his name, now sitting in the very area where he was born and raised. Johns widow, Kay Krapf and I have become great friends. We have traveled all over the country in honor of Project 911UP. She is a wonderful companion and supporter of all that is done with the sculptures.
So, this piece was given as a gift to the City of Bethlehem and remains there to this day. It endures the harsh ice and snow as well as the heat of summer. It is the Master sculpture of the series and is enjoyed by many. Each time I stop by to see how it is doing, people stop and talk to me. They tell me about this sculpture, describing how proud they are to have it and just seem to want to give me a lesson in it being there. I just let people talk, most of the time do not tell them who I am and take in all the positive descriptions they give me. This is what this project is all about. Helping those to heal and move past that day with a hope and rebuilding of spirits and our nation.