Sculptor David Haussler didn’t know whether he would see his monument to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center dedicated in Plainview on its 15th anniversary. The 60-year-old artist from Fort Salonga was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer soon before he was commissioned in late winter by the Plainview-Old Bethpage Chamber of Commerce.
Haussler said he told them, “I’m expected to live through the summer or at least a year, or maybe five years. Nobody can predict.”
He jumped at the opportunity, nonetheless.
“I just know that I do better when I’ve got something to work for,” Haussler said last week.
In between chemotherapy sessions, and with the help of Anthony Ingoglia, a sculptor whom he trained and who is co-signing the sculpture, Haussler has created a monument built around a piece of a beam from the World Trade Center.
The 10-foot-tall steel sculpture consists of two towers, the beam and a globe above them. The meaning, Haussler said, is symbolic.
“The world has changed from 9/11, from Ground Zero,” Haussler said. The globe can turn, symbolizing how the world continues to change.
“This really signifies a complete world — that’s it not just the United States . . . this was a global situation,” Haussler said.
The work, which is scheduled to be dedicated at 4:30 p.m. at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library on Sunday, is his third 9/11 sculpture and he says it’s a departure from his earlier work.
“It’s not somber, it’s more about education, or re-education,” he said. “We need to look forward and be in touch with what’s happening now.”
Francesca Carlow, a member of the chamber of commerce who heads the committee that commissioned the sculpture, said the chamber had a piece of WTC steel that it wanted to memorialize and Carlow said she wanted to have it incorporated into a piece of art rather than to simply put it up with a plaque.
“Everybody knows exactly where they were that day when they heard and now it’s 15 years later and nobody wants anybody to forget what’s happened,” Carlow said. “We have to go on but we don’t want to forget, and we don’t want generations to not know what happened.”
She said she discovered Haussler’s work through the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills and didn’t waver in her desire to have him do the sculpture despite his cancer.
The sculpture will eventually have an educational component aimed at high school students, she said.
The library has become a hub for cultural and community events, which makes it a good location for the sculpture in Plainview, said Gretchen Browne, director of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library.
“It’s touched all of us on Long Island,” Browne said. “It’s going to help to educate and remind the community what that day really meant to America.”