It’s hard to believe that eleven years have passed since the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Since then, many artists have used their medium to express the emotions of the world through music, dance and the visual arts. We had planned to highlight some of the art created in response to this event, but it turns out that countless people have expressed their complex feelings through artistic expression. To learn a little about this massive body of work, we refer you to this New York Times article.

Rip was also inspired to sculpt and Strength of America was created. In his inspiration statement, Rip explains the symbolism of the piece. “With determination and pride, the figure raises high a lamp, symbolizing the light of truth, freedom and justice. The serpent in his right hand represents the evil acts and forces of terror from 9/11. Emerging from the jagged rubble, the lines of the piece become more fluid as the eye travels up to see a bald eagle carrying the American flag to safety, emblematic of the American spirit.”

This limited edition sculpture is unique in that the first three of the edition were given as gifts to the cities that lost innocent lives in the attacks of September 11. You can view one at the Pentagon building in Washington DC, which was presented by the artist to the Legion of Valor. The second can be seen in commemoration of those who died in Shanksville, PA; the third is awaiting placement at Ground Zero in New York City.

Strength of America is also publically viewable at the Historic Belmont Firehouse right here in Portland. If you can’t make it to the Gallery or the Firehouse to see this piece, enjoy this video.

To learn more about the evolution of the Freedom Tower, watch this fascinating PBS video.