The Sept. 11 attacks happened eight months ago, but last Wednesday Reston Association presented a monument meant to keep the significance of Sept. 11 alive.
The families of Norma Cruz-Khan and Leonard Taylor, two Reston residents who died in the attacks, were on hand when Reston Association officials unveiled a bronze plaque at Browns Chapel Park.
"Although the attacks are still present with Imran Khan [Cruz-Khan’s son] and the Taylor family," said Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill), "We all now have something that will let us come back and reflect on Sept. 11."
The plaque is situated among a stand of trees, called Freedom Grove, that were planted on a Saturday afternoon last October in honor of the Sept. 11 victims. On that day more than 100 volunteers showed up to help plant the trees.
A bronze plaque was originally planned for the park, but it wasn’t until last week that the plaque was finished, in place, and ready for unveiling. The plaque depicts a caterpillar and butterfly, meant to symbolize the renewal of life.
"This certainly helped me get over the tragedy," said Reston artist Kathy Kaplan, who created the plaque. "As an artist I create images that don’t necessarily replace the emotions related to an incident, but that let people think about the incident in different ways."
State Del. Kenneth Plum (D-36) said there is a "strange irony" to a tragedy like Sept. 11.
"It tears at our heart, it’s a horrible occasion," Plum said. "But in the aftermath we gather our strength and renew our freedom."
He said the plaque, along with the surrounding grove of trees, will serve as a reminder that freedom cannot be taken for granted.