Ten years on

City, artists to commemorate 9/11; statewide memorial will debut

As the nation prepares to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, residents in Jersey City will commemorate the day with official ceremonies and creative expression from the arts community. Besides citywide events, the state will officially open its statewide memorial at Liberty State Park.
On Sunday, Sept. 11, Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy will join 9/11 survivors and Jersey City emergency responders who worked in lower Manhattan on 9/11/01 for the city’s annual “Reflections” ceremony. The commemoration, to be held on Grand Street at the Jersey City waterfront, will begin at 8:20 a.m. It was at that moment on Sept. 11 that officials at the Federal Aviation Administration realized that American Airlines Flight 11 had likely been hijacked. About 28 minutes later, that plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Jersey City’s ‘Reflections’ 9/11 commemoration at Grand Street and the waterfront begins at 8:20 a.m.
A monument that includes the names of the 37 Jersey City residents lost in the attacks now stands on the shore where World Trade Center survivors and some of those who were injured were brought on that fateful day.
The city’s commemoration will include a reading of the 37 names, in addition to remarks from local clergy, Healy, and other public officials. The commemoration will also include poetry readings and a selection from musician Victoria Lockhart, herself a 9/11 survivor.

Statewide monument also opening

A different monument – the Garden State’s 9/11 monument in Liberty State Park, known as “Empty Sky” – is set to make its official debut on Sept. 11. The controversial structure has been criticized by some park activists and public officials for obstructing the lower Manhattan skyline from Liberty State Park.
Gov. Chris Christie’s administration was still finalizing plans for the ceremony at press time. An update will be posted at hudsonreporter.com when details are available.

City’s hospitals treated the injured

When the towers fell 10 years ago, Exchange Place became a staging area for recovery and relief efforts as survivors were evacuated out of lower Manhattan across the river into Jersey City.
In a statement from City Hall last week, Healy recalled that contingents of Jersey City firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, and emergency medical technicians were among the first responders to Ground Zero.
In addition, a triage center was set up in Liberty State Park. Jersey City Medical Center, Christ Hospital, Greenville Hospital, and St. Francis Hospital were the medical facilities where most of those brought to Jersey City were treated. (Greenville and St. Francis hospitals have both since been closed.)
“On this day, we shall join the rest of the nation in commemorating the values exemplified by the patriotism of the American people,” Healy said in his statement last week. “We shall honor the great sacrifices made by our first responders and our brave men and women in the United States Armed Forces who continue to protect our country at home and abroad.”

Servicemen and servicewomen to be recognized

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom under the administration of former President George Bush. Following the “Reflections” ceremony on Grand Street, the city will dedicate the walkway at the foot of York Street to Spc. Marlon P. Jackson and Spc. Rafael A. Nieves Jr., two Jersey City residents and members of the military who were killed in the line of duty.
Both men were also honored last Wednesday by the Jersey City Council for their service and sacrifice.
Army serviceman Jackson, 25, died on Nov. 11, 2003 while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Assigned to A Company, 94th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Heavy), 130th Engineer Brigade, in Vilseck, Germany, Jackson died of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device exploded on a road in Tampa, Iraq.
Nieves, who was also enlisted in the Army, was killed on July 10 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, after his vehicle was attacked with small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fires. Assigned to 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Nieves, 22, served in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The walkway dedication to Jackson and Nieves will take place at 11 a.m. following the “Reflections” ceremony.
Later on Sept. 11, at 1 p.m., the city will participate in the national Stop and Remember effort that has been proposed by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). Lautenberg has proposed that, to the extent possible, people throughout the country stop what they are doing at 1 p.m. EST and remember 9/11 by ringing bells, blowing whistles, or sounding sirens.
“It was a tragic day in which the whole world stood still and offered prayers and condolences to the people of the United States of America,” said Mayor Healy. “Every year, Americans across the country stand united with remarkable spirit, compassion, and patriotism.”

Arts community to remember, too

Jersey City’s arts community is also planning a few 9/11-related events for those who may not be interested in the city-sanctioned events.
Photographer Sandra Swieder’s exhibit “From Across the River” is still on display at 1 McWilliams Place (at Hamilton Square), sixth floor. The exhibit offers the events of 9/11 from a New Jersey perspective and features photos Swieder took on that day. “From Across the River” will be on display through Sept. 15.
On Friday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m., as part of the quarterly JC Fridays, writer Reg E Gaines will present “Murphy’s Law,” a 10-minute play about 9/11. “Murphy’s Law” will be followed by “10 for 10: Reflections on 9/11 Ten Years After,” performances by various stage artists. “Murphy’s Law” and “10 for 10” will also be performed at 1 McWilliams Place.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudsonreporter.com.

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