The response was so overwhelming -- the Seattle Center estimated that people had left 1 million flowers -- that the Center extended what was to be a three hour vigil Saturday morning into a three-day vigil -- lasting through Tuesday morning.
"The outpouring has been so huge, we just really don't want to stop it," Seattle Center spokesman Perry Cooper said Saturday afternoon, as people continued to stream toward the fountain in the shadow of the Space Needle monument.
Letters Will Go Into Memory Books
Tuesday morning, thousands of residents joined fire fighters, police officers and Seattle Center staff in a community close.
It began with a silent procession of students, fire and police removing the citizenry, fire and police wreaths along with the fire fighters bunting gear, placed in the International Fountain Saturday morning.
Volunteers will then joined fire fighters, police and Seattle Center staff in separating flowers and personal cards. The hundreds of personal letters and pictures will be added to the more than 2,000 notes and drawings collected on Saturday.
The thousands of letters, photographs and drawings will be professionally bound into memory books and sent to New York City and the District of Columbia.
One-Year Memorial Planned
Residents can still bring flowers to the Seattle Center flagpole, which is located directly across from the International Fountain. The three vigil wreaths will be relocated to that site.
The greenery in the International Fountain will be mulched and saved for a one-year memorial. On Sept. 11, 2002, Seattle Center will invite the community to help plant a memorial garden in honor of the victims of this great tragedy.
The garden will be part of the new Fisher Pavilion project, which includes 2 acres of open space.
The Pavilion will be located in the heart of Seattle Center's campus, directly across from the International Fountain. It will be home to Seattle Center's cultural and heritage festivals, the place where we come together as a rich and varied community.
The Pavilion will be completed in August, 2002.
'Incredible Display Of Human Spirit'
"This weekend's outpouring of community emotion was an incredible display of our human spirit. Seattle Center is our community's gathering place, both in times of joy and sorrow. There have been requests to keep the vigil going throughout the week, but we don't want the morning rains to destroy the personal messages and gifts. We want to remove the flowers with the touch of human hands while we still can," said Mayor Paul Schell, who noted that the flowers were starting to decay.