SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A local nonprofit organization is hoping to bring an extraordinary World Trade Center Exhibit through Utah prior to landing at its permanent home in New York City.
Honor365, a Utah nonprofit who supports veterans and first responders in mental health, needs help to bring the replica, created by Daan Van der Steijn of The Netherlands, on a tour of the United States leading up to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2021.
The incredibly detailed exhibit has already been seen by tens of thousands of visitors in five European cities.
Van der Steijn reached out to Honor365 to bring the “Remembering the One, Remembering Them All,” display to the U.S.
Honor365 would like to bring the display to the United States to help raise money and awareness to support the mental health of veterans and first responders and said they also see it as an opportunity to “highlight international peace and solidarity in remembrance of a day that impacted so many lives.”
Van der Steijn became interested in the history of 9/11 when his family watched the documentary “102 minutes that changed America” on Dutch television on September 11. Van der Steijn was captivated by the images and the heroic efforts of the first responders on the scene, especially since his great-grandfather, cousin, and two other family members are firefighters.
At 14, Van der Steijn, an aspiring and talented woodworker and artist, started to wonder if he was capable of making a replica of the World Trade Center Plaza, as it was prior to the attacks.
“The tragedy touched me deeply and it seemed unreal to see two passenger airplanes fly into the World Trade Center and kill that many people,” said Van der Steijn. “I wanted to create a project as a memorial to all that passed away.”
By age 19, Van der Steijn had used nearly $10,000 of his own money and spent thousands of hours to complete the exhibit. With the help of local partners in The Netherlands and Europe, he began offering the exhibit in his home town and several European cities.
Melissa Sullivan, Director of Operations for Honor365 said the purpose of bringing the exhibit is to “heal, unify, and educate the younger generation not just on 9/11/2001 but the history of the Twin Towers and the impact they have had on our history.”
It will be on display in Ogden, Provo, St. George, and either Salt Lake City or Las Vegas before being gifted to New York for the 20th Anniversary.
Sullivan said they will also be raising funds through donations at each location that will be put back into the communities to support mental wellness.
The cost to bring the display to Los Angeles from The Netherlands so far has been quoted around $16,000 and Honor 365 is currently trying to raise the money so they can get the display here to Utah.
Honor 365 said they need help to raise money to:
- Carefully crate, transport, and ship the exhibit from The Netherlands to Honor365’s home base in Utah.
- Set up the first exhibition in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Pay for travel expenses for Daan to attend and speak at exhibitions in Utah.
- Create a video documentary of the journey to show at the exhibitions.
Van der Steijn is now in training to become a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Deurne in the Netherlands. He plans to attend the Dutch Firefighter Academy in October 2020 and will officially become a firefighter in 2022.