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“The Sphere” — a sculpture that survived the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center — will leave Battery Park at the end of the month, according to the Associated Press. The sculpture sat in the plaza between the two towers and became a memorial after it was recovered from the rubble. Despite an online petition to keep the sculpture in place, NY1 reports that will probably be stored in a hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport, because of renovations due for the park.
The petition to move The Sphere back to the World Trade Center site and the 9/11 memorial was posted online in February by Michael Burke, whose brother died on 9/11, DNAinfo reported that month. According to the petition — which now has 7228 signatures — the memorial’s designers said that it cannot be moved there in order to “to protect the integrity of the design.” The petition reads:
At Ground Zero, landscaping takes precedence over 9/11.
This is a denial of history. It is an affront against the American spirit that triumphed 9/11; it is an assault upon truth and memory. It betrays the memory of the innocents slaughtered there.
Burke has also spoken out in reports of The Sphere’s removal from downtown.
“It’s the last remaining intact artifact of the trade center,” he told the AP on Friday. “It represents the triumph of the values attacked, of peace and cooperation, over the terrorism, the hatred and intolerance that attacked.”
An “eternal flame” has burned at the sculpture’s base since the first anniversary of the attacks. A plaque at the site reads:
For three decades this sculpture stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Entitled ‘The Sphere,’ it was conceived by artist Fritz Koenig as a symbol of world peace. It was damaged during the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but endures as an icon of hope an the indestructible spirit of this country. The Sphere was placed here on March 11, 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.
This eternal flame was ignited on September 11, 2002 in honor of all those who were lost. Their spirit and sacrifice will never be forgotten.
A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Battery Park was never supposed to be the sculpture’s permanent.