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Old Colony Memorial

A lasting 9/11 tribute

By Rich Harbert MPG Newspapers

PLYMOUTH (Sept. 13) - The second anniversary of 9/11 may have been subdued, but the third shouldn't be if a local selectman has his way.

Selectman Richard Quintal's already-inspiring tribute to the Sept. 11 victims in North Plymouth is about to grow to monumental proportions.

Quintal is currently in the process of erecting twin replicas of the World Trade Center towers to complement the memorial he has constructed to victims of terror attacks outside his North Plymouth produce store.

And by next Sept. 11, Quintal plans to have a granite memorial in place with the engraved names of the nearly 3,000 people who died in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Local memorialist Lou Cook is already in the process of designing the 18-foot long by six-foot high black granite tribute.

"It will be like a mini-Vietnam wall," said Cook, explaining that the six three-foot wide panels will be arranged behind the present memorial in the shape of an arch that will rise from four feet to six feet in height. The names of the victims will be etched into a landscape scene from New York's Central Park.

Cook said the wall will be eight inches thick and joined to withstand a hurricane. He said the project will come together over the next six months but should be completed well before the third anniversary of the terror attacks.

Quintal, who began piecing together his memorial to the victims of the attack after buying statues of a police officer and firefighter in Tennessee shortly after the attacks, said he would like to see the town conduct remembrance services at his memorial on future anniversaries of 9/11. He said he would eventually deed the land to the town as public property.

"I really feel in my heart that's the way it should be," Quintal said of plans to identify each of the more than 3,000 victims of the attacks by name. "And I think people will come from everywhere to see it."

The idea for the tribute originated when Quintal brought the public safety statues back from a visit to Tennessee in 2001 and grew to include the installation of five granite memorial markers, a flag pole and a faux eternal flame. A vandal may have inadvertently added to the scope of the project.

After the head of the police officer statue was broken off one night in July, Quintal posted a $2,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the culprit. Local police officers quickly matched the offer and paid for a replacement.

Money, meanwhile, began to trickle in to Quintal's produce store on South Spooner Street. People who read of the vandalism or saw it featured on television, sent anonymous contributions to replace the statue or add to the reward. With no credible suspects at hand, Quintal decided to put the money to good use.

He is in the process of erecting twin Plexiglass towers that will be lighted by night. His wall of honor will rise behind that.

Quintal said the entire project will involve the etching of about 60,000 characters and will cost between $40,000 and $60,000. To help defray the cost, he is selling "Support 9-11 Memorial" T-shirts emblazoned with red, white and blue images of the twin towers. The shirts sell for $10, but half will go directly to the fund.

Quintal, who has already pumped tens of thousands of dollars of his own into the memorial, said he is prepared to personally fund as much as it takes to get the wall built.

He said he has already checked with town officials to make sure that the project doesn't require any special permits. Quintal said he already owns all the land around the memorial but would eventually give it to the town as a park.

The T-shirts are currently available only at the South Spooner street store, but will eventually be available at outlets in other sections of town.

Quintal said he's already gotten a lot of positive response to his plans. "Everyone's always saying how much they like it, but I didn't realize people cared as much as I do," Quintal said.