As the 10-year anniversary for the Sept. 11 tragedy approaches, Weehawken has been preparing to honor the fallen.
The town lost five residents on Sept 11, 2001, the day hijackers associated with Al-Qaeda crashed two airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing more than 2,000 people.
Two other planes were also hijacked and crashed, one in Pennsylvania and one in Washington, D.C. The plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was carrying a resident of nearby West New York, who was slated to go on a hiking trip at Yosemite National Park.
Five Weehawken residents perished in the attack.
200 dignitaries to attend first event
On Wednesday, Sept 7 at 11 a.m., Weehawken will dedicate the new waterfront memorial that initially broke ground on April 20, 2011.
The memorial incorporates steel that was collected by the Port Authority from the Twin Towers.
The memorial will honor the five fallen Weehawken residents as well as the volunteers who aided approximately 60,000 evacuees that were brought to Weehawken from Manhattan on boats, NY Waterway ferries, and even private yachts during the 9/11 rescue effort.
According to Mayor Richard Turner, it was possibly the largest rescue effort in the history of the state of New Jersey.
Many of the evacuees spent the night taking shelter at Weehawken High School.
The memorial is behind the RiversEdge building at 1500 Avenue at Port Imperial.
More than 200 guests will attend. Dignitaries from the Port Authority, Hudson County, and the state of New Jersey are scheduled to speak.
The memorial will feature an infinity pool and two large steel tridents that reach toward the sky, against the backdrop of the New York City skyline. The tridents are made from actual World Trade Center steel that was salvaged from Ground Zero and donated by the Port Authority.
Weehawken’s victims are Chris Gray, Eric Evans, Peter Klein, Juan Pablo Alvarez Cisneros, and Robert Vicario. Each left for a day’s work in Manhattan on the morning of Sept. 11, and never returned.
Second event on Sunday
The town will also hold the traditional memorial and ecumenical service behind the RiversEdge building at 1500 Avenue on Sunday, Sept 11 at 8:30 a.m.
“We always do it on the time that the planes struck the buildings,” said Turner, adding that the ecumenical ceremony will begin at 8:46 a.m.
What are your Sept. 11 memories? How has it changed you? Comment at hudsonreporter.com or e-mail Stephen LaMarca at email@example.com.