Michael L. Emerson wanted to create a memorial that would honor and remember all of the heroes of 9/11, along with firefighters and police, and the veterans from the Hayward, CA, area that have been killed in the line of duty. On April 25, 2013, Emerson took his plans to the Hayward City Planning Commission, asking them for their support and recommendation for the design and location of the memorial. It was approved that day and sent to city council, which later approved it on September 4th of the same year.

Emerson, the project’s originator, founder, designer, donation collector and project building manager, initially reached out to M.O. Bohrer, the sales and marketing manager of Anderson Bros. & Johnson (AB&J)/Michels Corporation, located in Brownsville, WI, as Emerson had Wausau Red granite in mind for the design of the memorial. Working in partnership with Bohrer, they were able to decide on a thermal/flamed finish for the exposed surfaces of the stone. This is opposed to the typical polished finish that is often applied to granite. The texture of the stone added an interest to the elements, while providing a nice contrast in both color and gloss to the Premium Plus black granite supplied by M S International, this is the same granite that was used for the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

As one of the oldest continuously operated mining companies in the U.S., Anderson Bros. & Johnson has been providing material to the market since 1895. Located approximately 200 miles east of the Twin Cities in Wausau, WI, the company’s red granite was designated the “Wisconsin State Stone” in 1971. Anderson Bros. & Johnson fabricated the red granite for the project as well.

“As the only deep red granite found in North America, AB&J provides several products to the market, including crushed stone, decorative stone, rip rap and armor stone for shoreline protection, building and landscape stone and monumental stone,” said Tom Ellias, general manager of AB&J. “Granite blocks and slabs are shipped to fabricators that produce headstones, markers, mausoleums and other specialty products.” The material can be sourced in infinite sizes and formats. It can also accept several different textures; allowing the artist to utilize polished, thermal, sandblasted and other finishes in order to bring their concept to life.

Five red granite blocks were selected and shaped for the project. “I chose the Wausau Red because of my experience working with it previously on the Flight 93 Memorial in Union City, CA,” said Emerson. “The stone is of impeccable quality, and is a long standing staple of the monument industry.” The memorial is anchored by a granite flagpole base that is 4.5 feet tall x 3 feet wide x 3 feet thick and weighs in excess of 7,000 pounds. Surrounding the central focal point are six benches. The 19-inch-high pieces are 5 feet long x 2 feet wide and weigh 2,500 pounds each. In total, approximately 22,000 pounds of Wausau Red was sourced for the project. The overall footprint of the monument is 1,360 square feet.

Emerson’s previous experience and success in using Wausau Red, as well as his strong relationship with the Michels Corporation, made the selection process an easy one. He worked directly with Bohrer and Ellias to arrive at the correct sizing and texture for the blocks.

“The project was funded completely by local donors and in-kind donations, such as labor, materials, etc.,” said Emerson. “Adhering to the budget was key to the project’s ultimate success. As such, each decision required a great deal of exploration and thought in order to sustain the available funds throughout the memorial’s completion.”

Completed on Memorial Day, May 30th of 2016, the city of Hayward fell absolutely in love with this addition to their community. Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday considers the memorial to be a major achievement of her city council and cites it as the greatest accomplishment of her term in office. Many of those involved see the Hayward 9/11 memorial as part of their own personal legacy. “Obviously, we are very proud to be part of the Hayward 9/11 memorial,” said Bohrer. “As the premier granite and being quarried here in the U.S., it was only fitting that a memorial to honor the heroes of 9/11 and the Hayward community use our Wausau Red granite.” It is evident that everyone’s efforts are focused on one primary message; never forget the heroes of 9/11, always remember our first responders, and honor those who have fallen while defending our great nation.

Hayward 9/11 War Memorial

Hayward, CA

Stone Supplier: Michaels Corporation, Brownsville, WI (Wausau Red granite); M S International, Orange, CA (Premium Plus black granite)

Fabricator:Anderson Bros. & Johnson, Wausau, WI (Wausau Red granite)