The Rolling Memorial
The Rolling Memorial is a semi-trailer truck painted with a mural intended to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks. The project was conceived by John Holmgren of Shafer, Minnesota in the United States after hearing the song "Have You Forgotten" by country singer Darryl Worley.
An over-the-road truck driver, Holmgren transformed his 18-wheeler into the tribute with the help of a mural artist. The mural image, along with the names of the victims of the attack, were printed onto vinyl sheets and applied to the truck at a cost of nearly $40,000 USD. Holmgren sold t-shirts, toy models of the truck and other merchandise to cover expenses but has nonetheless gone into debt.
Holmgren attributes the popularity of his truck to an e-mail forward, which apparently started in 2004 with a food company employee who photographed the truck. The e-mail eventually made its way into the hands of celebrities such as Jimmy Buffett and Reba McEntire, who then asked Holmgren to bring his truck to their concerts. The truck was also invited to "ground zero" for a special commemorative ceremony in 2004.
Holmgren displays the truck all over the U.S. and continues to use it to transport freight when possible. In an interview with the Star Tribune, he said "Troopers pull me over just to get a picture with the truck. Once I even got out of a ticket. The guy said, 'I can't give this to you, knowing what you're doing.'" Holmgren has received emails from over 20 countries, and there are several websites devoted to his truck. He has also met with families of 9/11 victims.
There was a plan to donate the truck to New York City in 2006, but there is no evidence this has happened.
- Smith, Robert (11 September 2005). "One Man's Moving Sept. 11 Memorial : NPR". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
- Kersten, Katherine (2005-08-11). "One man and a big truck take on the duty of patriotism". Think Again. Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2005-08-13. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
One Minnesotan -- John Holmgren, a truck driver from Shafer […] turned his 18-wheeler into a rolling memorial to the Americans who died that day. […] One day in 2003, he and a buddy were listening to the radio when country singer Darryl Worley's song about 9/11, 'Have You Forgotten?' came on. An idea flashed into Holmgren's head: 'Wouldn't it be cool to do a 9/11 truck?'
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- Gear Up 343 panel - Photo of panel on truck sponsored by the firefighters group Gear Up commemorating the 343 FDNY firefighters and paramedics who lost their lives in the response to 9/11