When sculptor Roland Hockett was creating a memorial to the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, he said later he wanted the work to be around for a long time. He rejected iron or steel and chose copper, a metal that endures despite the weather as it has with the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
That decision has come back to haunt him. Vandals and metal thieves again have ravaged the statue that stood in San Jose’s 11 de Setiembre de 2001, near the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano in Sabana Norte. The U.S. Embassy reports on its Web site that Hockett is back in town doing repairs on the work. The statue has since been moved to the enclosed training area of the Cuerpo de Bomberos in Desamparados.
Although the statue sat on the brow of a hill overlooking the entrance to the Centro Cultural and there are office buildings nearby, the work was not highly visible, and much of the damage took place outside of business hours. Hockett had to repair the work in 2011, too.
Over the years, the statue has developed a deep symbolism for many Costa Rican firefighters, who attend yearly memorials to remember the New York firefighters killed when the Twin Towers collapsed, as well as for U.S. groups like the Marine Corps League and Veterans of Foreign Wars, who regularly visit the statue to remember the sacrifices of their military comrades, said the embassy posting.