Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fairfield unveils new memorial honoring those killed on 9/11


FAIRFIELD — For years, Dean Powers, the longtime keeper of Oak Lawn Cemetery, has worked to honor those killed on United Flight 93, one of four planes hijacked on September 11, 2001.

Powers cleared a previously unused area of ​​the 100-acre cemetery to erect the planned memorial tribute, but before he could see his vision become a reality, he died of cancer in June 2020.

On Tuesday, Fairfield officials gathered to officially unveil the memorial honoring those killed on that fateful day as well as powers. They were joined by Jed Glick, brother of Jeremy Glick – one of the passengers on the plane who foiled the attack as part of a plan to retake the plane from the hijackers. The plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

“The memorial is the creation of a remarkable man, Dean Powers,” said Bronson Hawley, chairman of the Oak Lawn Cemetery Board. “Dean meticulously designed the memorial. He worked on finalizing the details until the day he died. But Dean didn’t just design the memorial, he almost single-handedly transformed our grounds, working at Oak Lawn seven days a week here for the last eight years of his life.

Hawley said Powers was a very dedicated and hardworking gardener who first had to transform a “virtual jungle” before he could even design a memorial.

“He saw this site and he said, ‘Boy, this is awesome and I’d like to do something to commemorate the victims,'” Hawley said.

Much of Powers’ contributions to the memorial is the very area in which it stands. For nearly five years, Powers transformed an area that had been taken over by invasive plant species, primarily Japanese knotweed, into a natural setting that is now part of the pollinator pathway.

The new memorial that later stood there consists of two nine-foot granite towers atop a pentagon-shaped granite base. It also includes a rock engraved with the phrase “OK, let’s go.” Shanksville, PA”, a reference to the last words spoken by Todd Beamer, as he and the other passengers tried to take control of the plane.

The memorial also has a connection to Ground Zero. A board member visited the 9/11 site in New York City and picked up acorns from the trees there. The council member took them back to his nursery and raised the trees. These trees are now planted along the Oak Lawn Cemetery Memorial Trail.

Hawley said Oak Lawn Cemetery dedicates the birthplace area, which includes the 9/11 Memorial and the Pollinator Garden, to Powers’ memory as a way to forever honor him. A plaque has been installed on a rock between two of his famous stone benches in his honor.

“So this whole beautiful, natural setting was single-handedly created by Dean Powers,” Hawley said. “It is his gift to all of us, and we are eternally indebted to him.”

He said he hopes people will visit the area and remember Powers and all he did for Oak Lawn, along with his friends.

“We hope you will think of Dean, his kindness and gentleness, his love of nature and his ever-present desire to help others,” Hawley said.

This story has been updated with the full name and title of Bronson Hawley, Chairman of the Oak Lawn Cemetery Board.


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