Sadness, awe, pride.
Phillippi Equipment Company's towering 9/11 memorial has prompted all kinds of reactions from viewers, who gather every year in the parking lots and roads surrounding the massive memorial to take in the sight.
"We've had people standing out there crying, we've had people in tears that were just moved by the entire display," said President Paul Doran.
Each year on Sept. 11, the company assembles several large cranes and hoists a pair of American flags to a dizzying height above its parking lot along Hwy. 55 in Eagan. Last year, the business added a large photo of an American soldier carrying a wounded Iraqi child to the memorial. The photo is on display again this year.
The tradition dates back at least five years, according to Doran, and the memorial is the creation of Phillippi Equipment Company Owner Tony Phillippi.
Phillippi "came in one day" and decided he wanted to do something to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11, Doran said. His inspiration culminated in the decision to use two 125-ton cranes and one 225-ton crane—all with 130- to 140-foot booms—to hoist the 12-foot by 20-foot picture and accompanying flags.
The undertaking is no small endeavor for the company, which spends several thousand dollars and logs plenty of employee hours assembling and manuevering the cranes. The company also uses spotlights to illuminate the memorial at night.
But the money and time isn't as important to Phillippi as patriotic spirit, according to Doran.
"He’s a proud American," Doran said. "We all are, everybody’s proud of it, but Tony, it’s his brainchild."
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