By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Fallen Heroes Fund has taken a major step forward in its effort to build a new memorial for Philadelphia firefighters and police officers who have died in the line of duty.
A competition that began in September has ended with the announcement that a design by a Philadelphia-based architectural firm will be used to build the new memorial in Franklin Square.
Tim McShea, vice president of firefighters’ union Local 22, can’t wait to see it. He says the Living Flame, erected in 1976, was not a fitting memorial.
“It was decrepit,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “There were rats running around, and the park was vacant and empty. A lot of our flowers were being sold by the homeless.”
The new site will be located on the Sixth Street side of the square, opposite the Benjamin Franklin Bridge approach.
Eric Oskey, a member of the winning team, Moto Designshop, says it will be made of granite, marble, and steel, and will feature markers with the names of the fallen.
The centerpiece, says Oskey, will be an abstract symbolic badge with a black stone “ribbon.”
“What you would have is the badge itself, which is heavy white marble, illuminated behind the black patch of stone. So this is about a five-and-a-half, six-foot by six cube,” Oskey explains.
But they still need money to build the memorial. That phase of the project begins in earnest on Sunday with the first fundraiser, which will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Anyone who wants to contribute can go to fallenheroesmemorialfund.org.