Navy Retiree Drives Mobile Memorial to 9/11 Attack Sites
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2006 Bruce Gorman is driven, literally, in demonstrating his belief that Americans should close ranks against terrorism and never forget the people who were killed during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Bruce Gorman poses inside his 36-foot-long International bus parked on the Pentagon’s north parking lot Sept. 2. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Gorman retired from the Navy in January as a petty officer first class with 20 years’ service. Since then, the 47-year-old former religious program specialist has poured time, energy and money into a 36-foot-long International passenger bus, turning it into a mobile memorial featuring photos of the nearly 3,000 victims killed in the attacks at New York City, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pa.
The northern-Florida resident said he wants to heighten Americans’ “awareness that we really are at war with some fanatical groups in the world, and we have to stand by one another, support each another.”
Gorman drove his bus from Florida to the Pentagon to support the memory of the people killed in the 9/11 attacks. He plans to continue on to Shanksville, Pa., and then drive to New York City’s “ground-zero” site in time to observe the city’s Sept. 11 memorial events.
Gorman arrived at the Pentagon’s north parking area Sept. 2 and plans to depart for Shanksville early Sept. 5. His bus is covered, inside and outside, with 2,876 plastic-laminated black-and-white photos of 9/11 victims. In total, 2,996 people died in the 9/11 attacks, excluding the 19 hijackers. Four hijacked U.S. airliners were involved in the attacks.
“I would just do search engines on the Internet to come up with the photos,” Gorman explained, noting he paid $6,000 for the six-cylinder, diesel-engine, Navy-surplus bus in February and has since spent another $20,000 or so transforming it into a moving memorial.
Gorman was inspired to build his rolling 9/11 memorial, he said, upon hearing singer Jennifer Renee’s haunting 9/11 remembrance song, “Light a Candle in September.”
The collective images of 9/11 victims displayed on the bus convey a sense of community and unity, Gorman said.
“When I look at these people I see you, I see me, I see everybody in the world,” Gorman explained. “I think it brings to mind that life is short. We need to protect our values in America and prevent this from happening again.”
Americans should remember the 9/11 victims each September, Gorman said, because the departed personify the personal sacrifice that pays for our freedoms and way of life.
“We are them and they are us. We are all good, freedom-loving Americans and we need to support each other and be united in our cause as a country,” he concluded.