9/11 memorial creator meant no disrespect by misspelling 'heroes'

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VENICE, Fla. - There has much talk recently about the new 9/11 memorial in Venice. It's meant to honor those lost in the terrorist attacks, and the brave men and women who have undertaken more than a decade of war in response...but there is a problem.

The word “heroes” is misspelled.

Today we spoke with Gene Sweeney with Salt of the Earth. He raised the funds to build the monument and says it was a simple mistake, and that he meant no harm or disrespect to any of those honored by the memorial. He intends on correcting it as soon as possible.

Sweeney definitely knows how to spell "heroes" now, but at the time the monument was inscribed, he admits there was an oversight that he wishes didn't happen. But when working with all privately-raised funds, and trying to build an honorable memorial, he says the misspelling slipped through the cracks.

“We are not a staff of 20 or 30 people, you're kind of looking at the staff. And there's been a tremendous contribution of different organizations that have come together to help build this memorial. They were wonderful contractors who came in and gave as a gift of services a lot of what it is they do. One of which is the engraver,” says Sweeney.

The memorial, which is located in Patriots Park on Venetia Bay Boulevard, was just dedicated two months ago and features a 14-foot iron beam recovered from the World Trade Center as its centerpiece.

Sweeney says the memorial is the only one in the country that honors both 9/11 civilian victims and fallen military heroes, and all the names are spelled correctly. And now that the mistake has come to light, he says he hopes people can look past it, focusing on the true meaning behind the memorial.

People we talked to agree, saying while they're not offended.

“Everybody makes mistakes. Everything goes unnoticed until somebody really smart notices it and brings it to the attention of somebody else and then it's fixed,” says Sarasota resident Monica Durakis.

“I can imagine a lot of people would feel hurt by it. But in any event, mistakes happen, and it's a genuine mistake. It's nothing that's intentional, so I'm sure that those who've gotten into this predicament will get over it amicably,” says visitor Bill Downs.

Sweeney says he's already investigating solutions to the spelling error, and he intends on fixing the word ASAP. “It's etched in stone. We can't just white it out, it's got to be done in a technical manner.”

Sweeney says there are a couple of solutions that seem feasible. One would remove the entire first line, putting a granular compound over it, and re-inscribing over that. The second option is similar, but instead of removing the entire first line, the compound would just cover the "s" and then the "e-s" would be re-inscribed.