A young C.J. Miller was assigned to the Marine Corps’ fire academy, training to be a crash rescue specialist, when the events of September 11, 2001, unfolded. Miller had enlisted in January of that year. “My last ten years have been dictated by the results of that day,” he said.
“My first inclination was to be mentally prepared,” added Miller. “We’re going to war.” He became a sergeant and served his first tour of duty in 2004 in Iraq. In school four years later, Miller was called back there as part of Gen. David Petraeus’s Iraq surge.
Miller’s 9/11 odyssey continued after he left the Marines. Armed with a bachelor of fine arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design, artist and sculptor Miller is now completing a 9/11-themed sculpture for Georgia’s DeKalb County.
As the centerpiece of DeKalb’s 9/11 Memorial Project, the sculpture will be attached to a two-inch thick, 160-pound steel section from one of the fallen twin towers. It will look like an eternal flame, representing a ten-foot tall phoenix rising from the steel section and curling upward. The 9/11 Memorial will be located in front of the county’s Department of Public Safety headquarters in Tucker.