Sunday, September 11, 2022 was a rainy day, but that did not stop anyone from remembering history. In the hours before Bayonne’s annual interfaith prayer service and candlelight vigil, it began drizzling intermittently, however hundred of residents still attended the memorial ceremony.
The September 11 City of Bayonne Remembers Committee was formed following the terrorist attacks in 2001, and organizes the annual memorial service. In 2020, the ceremony was cancelled due to COVID-19, and instead, a tribute of lights was held. However, the ceremony returned in 2021 and continues strong in 2022.
Locals gathered at Bayonne’s 9/11 Memorial at Harbor View Memorial Park at the eastern end of the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY). Officially known as “To Struggle Against World Terrorism” but colloquially known as the “Teardrop” Memorial, the monument was gifted to the U.S. by Russia. While Russian dictator Vladimir Putin came to Bayonne for the groundbreaking of the memorial years ago, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine the city has blocked out Putin’s name on the memorial.
In 2006, the memorial was dedicated and bears the names of all of the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks. However, the committee wanted to do something special to memorialize the residents of Bayonne who perished in the terrorist attacks, so in 2007 the committee dedicated separate monuments for each of Bayonne’s victims, one who died in the World Trade Center in 1993, two who died on United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania in 2001, and ten who died in the World Trade Center in 2001.
Later in 2011, the committee dedicated the Twin Towers Steel Monument. Earlier this year in April, a new memorial in front of City Hall at 630 Avenue C was also dedicated to the victims of the terrorist attacks.
While other municipalities gather typically in the morning to hold their tributes on September 11, Bayonne holds their main remembrance ceremony at night. However, the Bayonne Fire Department and the city do hold a smaller ceremony at the Fire Department Headquarters next to City Hall in the morning to honor those lost.
In the evening, the ceremony began at the “Teardrop” with the presentation of the colors by color guards from the Bayonne Police and Fire Departments and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as the Knights of Columbus color guard, Girl Scout Troop 327 of Trinity Parish in Bergen Point, Boy Scout Troop 19 of Pope John Paul II Parish, Troop 25 of St. Vincent DePaul Parish, and Troop 27 of Trinity Parish in Bergen Point.
Music by a bagpiper for the Bayonne Police Department Pipe and Drums, a trumpeter, Bayonne High School acappella group The Bee’s Knees, The Bayonne Interfaith Inspiration Choir, and the Bayonne High School Marching Band featured performances of solemn, patriotic, and inspirational songs such as “Amazing Grace,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” respectively, among others.
Rev. Joseph Barbone, former Pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Church, served as master of ceremonies. He read the names of the 13 Bayonne victims who died on 9/11 and in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.
The victims include: Alysia Basmajian, Ana Mercedes Centeno, John A. Cooper, Colleen Ann Deloughery, Ramzi A. Doany, John Roger Fisher, Orasri Liangthanasarn, Gavin McMahon, Steven P. Morello, and Kenneth Joseph Tarantino who perished in the Twin Towers; Patricia Cushing and Jane C. Folger, who died on United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania; and William Macko, who died in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.
Mayor Davis gave brief remarks at the ceremony. “21 years later,” Davis said. “…We owe it to those who perished and to their families to never forget and it’s up to each and every one of us to teach our children and our grandchildren… It’s up to us to continue honoring those who perished and to remember them and to come together as one, as one country, as one people, as proof of what we are as the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.”
Members of the Bayonne Interfaith Clergy Association offered prayers, readings, and reflections. Rev. John Fencik of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church prayed for those who are gone. Following that, Rev. Dorothy Patterson from Wallace Temple AME Zion Church also offered prayers of peace and love. Rev. George Greiss of St. Abanoub and St. Antonious Coptic Orthodox Church noted how 9/11 is engrained in memories more than two decades later. The ceremony concluded with “Taps.”
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