There's a new goal for a 9/11 monument in Henrico County.
The future granite and marble monument, designed years ago for a swath of open county-owned land at Parham and Quioccasin Roads, was expected to be complete by now. Despite a delay, those involved with making the monument a reality say they're still moving forward.
Richard Melito makes the appearance every year.
"I'm gonna make sure that you have an extra flag…"
A flag-raising ceremony at Douglas S. Freeman High School, where most of the students, now, are just barely old enough to even remember 9/11
"And it's up to us as adults and the people that lived through the event to create and build a permanent reminder of that event," Melito said Tuesday.
Three years ago, Melito went public with plans to build a monument just down the road. The county gave him the land, all he had to do was raise about $1.5 million in private donations. At the time, Melito expected the monument would be built by the tenth anniversary of the attacks. But that was a year ago.
"It's been tough," Melito said, acknowledging that the economy kept would-be donors from coming forward.
"They're waiting for the right time and the right moment then they'll all get behind it and I think we'll be fine," he said.
Ever the optimist, Melito isn't giving up. He shows up at schools and firehouses, earning donations little by little in hopes of one day flying his self-designed "Freedom Flag" at his monument in Henrico County.
"The Washington Monument wasn't built in a day, and Mount Rushmore wasn't built overnight. And if it takes us a few years to get it done, we'll get it done because it's very very important for the new generations coming up to be able to see and remember what happened that day," Melito said.
Melito's new goal is to have the monument built in time for the 15th anniversary of the attacks in 2016.
So far, Melito says he and his Freedom Flag Foundation have raised about $25,000 in cash and nearly $400,000 dollars worth of "in kind" donations.
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