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Brothers to the Rescue

Brothers to the Rescue Memorial Plaza | Sweetwater | FL

Brothers to the Rescue Memorial Plaza is an urban public space in the City of Sweetwater designed to bring together the local community and FIU students and to commemorate the bravery of four men. On February 24, 1996, the Cuban Air Force shot down two small, unarmed civilian aircraft over the international waters off the Florida Straits, killing four men, three of them United States citizens. Armando Alejandre Jr. 45, Carlos A. Costa, 29, Mario M. de la Peña, 24, and Pablo Morales, 29, were flying with the not-for-profit organization Brothers to the Rescue. The organization consisted primarily of civilian aviation pilots of various national origins who flew on volunteer missions to spot rafters at sea and notify the U.S. Coast Guard so they would be rescued.

The memorial, like most monuments, is symbolic in nature. The design considered how the symbol and form of a seagull (the call name used by the Cessna planes when they were out flying) could be transformed to become a public space. The ‘seagull’ form begins to define space while creating seating and landscape areas, but also considers the limitations of the site. It solves sloping site conditions for drainage and accessibility.