With the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks heavy on people’s minds, many locals took the opportunity to head to the Laurel Tree Gallery on Sept. 2 to view 158 "Tribute Flags" that would soon be on their way to New York for the commemoration ceremonies.
The flags are the latest in a series of 9/11 memorial projects coordinated by local artist Dianne Brudnicki to help and support family members of those killed in the attacks.
Visitors to the display spent long, sober moments studying the flags and reading about the lives of some of those who were lost.
This particular project took five months. Brudnicki, working with the Voices of Sept. 11th Organization, directed youth and community members as they created the pieces designed to represent some of those individuals who perished 10 years ago. The life of each person was researched so that the drawings and inscriptions on the flag reflect the individual’s personality.
With the help of local artist Dan Cautrell, who made an individual flag and also a commemorative one, their designs were imprinted onto cloth.
Brudnicki’s efforts have evolved into what she calls the 9/11 Tribute Flag Project. On Sunday, she was part of a delegation of 14 youth and adult artists who represented the state of Washington at Ground Zero for the 10-year memorial ceremonies.
Although the flags themselves will go to a museum, family members of those represented will have copies and the original plates to take home with them.
During the reception at the Laurel Tree, Brudnicki thanked all those who volunteered to help with the project, noting that they came from as far away as the West Pierce County Fire Department whose chief, Ken Sharp, got involved and helped pay for a new press.
"I can’t tell you how rich the last five months have been with all you have done for these families," she told the artists. "You invested so much thought and care into their loved ones."