September 11 Memorial Garden and TrailBob Hart
320 Morton Farm Ln., Athens, Georgia, 30602, United States
About the Artist/Site
Over 800 miles south of ground zero in New York City, a hand-crafted memorial to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy stretches over a 300-yard trail in Athens, Georgia. Created by artist Bob Hart, the idea for a tribute to those who had perished in the terrorist attack struck Hart after visiting New York a month after the onslaught. The memorial consists of 99 hand-painted wooden poles that bear the names of the more than 3000 deceased. While there is a guide to the name arrangements, Hart specifically decided to not sort the victims alphabetically, instead opting to randomize the order of names to emphasize the individuality of each of the victims.
Hart constructed the memorial garden and path with specific symbolism related to the event in mind. According to Hart’s website, a few of the references towards the terrorist attacks include the number of wooden poles being 99 (9 multiplied by 11), 254 stones outlining a sculpture (September 11th being the 254th day of the year), and the American flags atop the name poles pointed towards the north-east (the direction of the twin towers, pentagon, and flight 93 attacks). The number nine is a recurring feature within the memorial, representing the ninth month of the year: September.
Hart commissioned local artists such as Harold Rittenberry and Mary Padgelek to create sculptures to adorn the garden. While the Hart’s property is off the beaten path, visitors from all over come to pay tribute to the lives lost during 9/11. For the last 20 years, visitors have filled out a log-book, leaving sentiments that both thank Bob and his wife Nancy for providing a space for remembrance, and reminisce on loved ones who were taken too soon.
~Nikki Ranney, 2023
Map & Site Information
320 Morton Farm Ln.
Athens, Georgia, 30602 us
Latitude/Longitude: 33.88121 / -83.277743