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A memorial on 18 wheels to commorate the memory of the victims of September 11th.

By Johnny Duncan

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  • Sometimes our memory fails us and we forget the traumas of the past. Many people believe that this is s built-in recovery device in our brains that contributes to the healing process after experiencing catastrophic events. Others believe that we simply become complacent and choose to not dwell on past inflictions so that we can focus on the good of the future.

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    Whichever camp you’re in, we must all agree history teaches us how to avoid future mistakes. At the very least, the reminders of past events trigger emotions that keep us aware of obstacles, pitfalls and sudden tragedies that alter the course of our lives.

    The Rolling Memorial, an 18-wheel rig memorializing 9/11 does just that. This tribute to the survivors of September 11th is a rolling piece of art that reminds us of a historic day in 2001. The truck travels the highways giving people a snapshot of history and reminding folks about the day we were attacked.

    John and Amy Holmgren, owner-operators as well as drivers of Rosepath Transportation in Shafer, Minnesota, were inspired to create the memorial after hearing Darryl Worley’s country hit song, “Have You Forgotten”. The song moved them to want to always remember this event and to remind others as well.

    Supported by friend and designer Arlee Simpson of Applied Images in Fargo, North Dakota, the idea soon became a reality.

    Applied Images had been in business for over 25 years when they decided to get involved in the project. The mural artist, Paul Kosienski of Kosienski Signs, also from Fargo, ND, hand-painted the tractor and the trailer application was completed by Arlee’s crew using a 3M vinyl product.

    Applied Images has always worked in screenprinting, making signs on anything with a smooth surface. The company has seven employees and ownership responsibility is shared between Simpson, and four Olson brothers. Most of their business is from repeat business and word-of-mouth, while they do some advertising in the phone book.

    Simpson and company were thrilled when they were approached by John Holmgren to take on this project. The obvious benefits of being a part of the memorial are one thing, but the challenge of creating and installing the work was another.

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    From Applied Images’ standpoint, the project was not without its own particular challenges. According to Simpson, “It took nearly six weeks to complete the project. It required about three or four weeks just to finalize the art and then another couple of weeks to make the application”. One of the obstacles Simpson faced was the weather. “The only full week of rain we had that summer was during the application phase. The wind was blowing hard and we had difficulty in trying to hold the panels in place.” Even with the climate problems, the final work appeared perfect. The truck’s traveling route allows the Holmgren’s to make a statement every day with a quality finished product.

    The details of the truck are what capture the eyes of those on the road. The tractor has a large mural of a New York City Police Officer embracing a young child and keeping the child safe in his arms. Also included in the art is the American Flag, The World Trade Center Towers, the Statue of Liberty on a sky blue background with doves and Spiritual hands. Half of the September 11th victim's names are listed on that side of the trailer. The other side (when completed) will list the other half of the victim's names.

    The rear of the trailer has a picture of the Pentagon and the names of the victims killed during the attack. John said, "The tractor trailer is a work in progress and we are looking for support to complete it. Corporate Sponsorships are being accepted, and our goal is to take the Show Truck on a national tour."

    John and Amy's goal is to hopefully drive the Show Truck to Ground Zero, New York City, and present it to the people of New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. They want to show them that the people of "Small-town USA" still care and will always remember. The rolling memorial will serve as a reminder to everyone that we were all affected in some way on 9/11.

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