KAYSVILLE – A 9/11 memorial will be dedicated at 6:30 Wednesday morning at the Utah State University Botanical Center in Kaysville, capping a 12-year fundraising effort by youth volunteers and their adult organizers.
“There were many times I just wanted to give up … but the kids meant so much to me and I couldn’t let them down,” Margaret Wahlstrom, a project organizer, said. “As long as they were so determined, I couldn’t quit on them.”
The memorial features a bronze statue of a firefighter holding a little girl and a series of five bronze plaques underneath the words “Unity,” “Remembrance” and “Hope.”
Wahlstrom has a personal reason for persevering.
One of the plaques features her mother-in-law, Mary Alice Wahlstrom of Kaysville, and her sister-in-law, Carolyn Anne Beug, who were on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Also honored is Brady Howell, a Utah State alumnus from Tremonton who was working at the Pentagon and killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into it.
Other plaques have the names of 129 Utah military men and women who died fighting the War on Terror, children’s artwork about 9/11 and the dedicatory prayer given a year ago.
“I think it’s going to be a place of peace and remembering where we’ve been,” Karlene Kidman, an adult advisor at Davis County Youth of Promise, said.
Soon after the attacks in 2001, Youth of Promise, a volunteer group, had the idea to build a memorial for those killed on 9/11 and the emergency responders. But money was hard to come by and the years wore on.
Wahlstrom eventually took over the project, called Utah Unites in Hope.
“After I’d worked for a few years with the kids, I just felt so close to them and wanted to help them be successful in what they were doing,” Wahlstrom said.
She and Kidman, an adult advisor at Youth of Promise since 1999, spearheaded the project and pushed to reach the $200,000 total. They had setbacks with donors falling through and hoped-for money from the Legislature unrealized.
The 12 years of fundraising provided more than 100 youth the opportunity to learn about leadership, business and the Legislature, providing the main muscle behind the project that also included about 12 adult volunteers.
“Watching them grow and learn and work with community sources and other organizations, that was a neat part of it, teaching the youth how to finally accomplish this,” Wahlstrom said.
Kylea Peart, one of Kidman’s daughters, was 16 when she began volunteering and said she’s put in hundreds of hours in meetings and fundraising.
“Everyone has come together and united and worked hard and made this possible,” Peart said. “I’m just lucky to have been a part of it.”
The statue, sculpted by Angela Johnson, will be revealed at the sunrise service Wednesday morning. Lt. Gov. Greg Bell and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah will speak at the event at the USU Botanical Center, 920 S. 50 W., Kaysville. The memorial is west of the center's pavilion near the ponds.