Stained Glass Pipes Serve as Sept. 11 Memorial

By: Damon Dillman
By: Damon Dillman

It stands more than 10 feet high, and it's right here in the Valley. But the maker of the world's first-ever set of stained glass organ pipes says it stands for something far more important.

Decorated with an American flag, the set of pipes serves as a memorial to the people killed on Sept. 11.

"I thought, one ought to remember the life. One ought to remember the interaction, the voices of people," said Xavier Wilhelmy, owner of Wilhelmy Musical Instrument Services, where the pipes were designed and built and are now housed.

Wilhelmy says that life is better remembered in an organ or other musical instrument, as opposed to other Sept. 11 memorials that are mostly stone.

In fact, the set of pipes was used as the basis for a proposed Ground Zero monument that would have included more than 3,000 pipes - one for each person killed.

"The thought came up to dedicate, to make each pipe special, unique beautiful, and to dedicate it to each person lost," Wilhelmy said.

The set of pipes took about a year to complete.

Earlier this year, Wilhelmy learned his monument design wasn't selected. But he says he's not disappointed.

"We felt very happy that we were able to contribute in any way," he said.

Wilhelmy plans to take the pipes to a national convention in Los Angeles this summer. The convention begins on, appropriately enough, the Fourth of July.

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