Green Scene

At the Sites of 9/11 Horror, Let Thousands of Roses Bloom

Monarch butterflies quickly made themselves at home on a
Monarch butterflies quickly made themselves at home on a "Patriot Dream" rose. (By Sandra Leavitt Lerner For The Washington Post)
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By Joel M. Lerner
Saturday, August 15, 2009

On Aug. 1, my wife, Sandy, and I attended the groundbreaking of the 15-acre rose garden in Shanksville, Pa. It was an emotional event, officiated by Sue Casey, the president and founder of the organization Remember Me Rose Gardens, which is creating rose gardens at the site of each of the three plane crashes on Sept. 11, 2001.

When completed, there will be more than 10,000 roses planted in gardens at the three crash sites, with at least one rose -- or, in the case of Shanksville, a bed of roses -- for each victim of the attacks.

Shanksville, a community of about 200 residents, was catapulted to national prominence on Sept. 11, 2001, when it became the crash site of United Flight 93. More than 5,000 people visit this site each week. The community, along with Remember Me, intends to give living memorials to the 40 heroes who ensured that the hijacking failed.

Following are roses that have been hybridized for Remember Me. They have been named to honor those who perished and will be planted in all of the rose gardens, where they will be hardy:

-- "Firefighter," a red hybrid tea rose, was announced in September 2003 to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on Sept. 11. It received the City of Portland Gold Medal Award for 2007. New York City fireman Lt. Bob Jackson, an avid rose grower, named the rose. The lieutenant's Battalion 9 firehouse lost more than a dozen members on Sept. 11.

-- "Soaring Spirits," a cream, pink and yellow striped climbing rose, was announced in September 2004 to honor the more than 2,500 people who lost their lives while working in the World Trade Center.

-- "We Salute You," an orange-pink hybrid tea rose, is named to honor 125 service members, employees and contract workers who died at the Pentagon.

-- "Forty Heroes," a golden yellow floribunda, honors the crew and passengers of United Flight 93. It was released in April 2006 at a ceremony held in the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department's memorial garden and test plot in Maryland.

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