WEST ORANGE, NJ – A four-foot-tall “Search and Rescue Dog” Statue has been added to the Essex County Eagle Rock September 11th Memorial in West Orange to commemorate the role that dogs had in the search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center and Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. joined New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino at a dedication ceremony on Aug. 17, during which DiVincenzo said that the statue will ensure that the rescue dogs’ contributions during the attacks are always remembered.
“We can never forget the devastation and destruction that occurred during the attacks on September 11, 2001,” said DiVincenzo. "Expanding our 9/11 Memorial is our way of recognizing the many lives that were lost, the futures of so many that were changed and the different segments of public safety that came to help. In our lives, dogs become part of our family, are trusted friends and played an integral role in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero and the Pentagon.”
The Canine Statue was designed by Jay Warren of Oregon, who has worked with Essex County to design statues of Governor Brendan Byrne, Congressman Donald Payne, Rosa Parks, Sgt. Jorge Oliveira and Justice William Brennan at the Essex County Hall of Records Complex in Newark and the Althea Gibson Statue in Essex County Branch Brook Park in Newark.
The base of the statue, designed by artist Harry Gordon of Lambertville, was designed to resemble the rubble at Ground Zero. The statue and the base, which weigh about 5,000 pounds, sit on a one-foot tall block of granite.
“Today we pay tribute to the roughly 350 search and rescue dogs that worked tireless hours trying to locate survivors amid the twisted pile of steel beams, concrete and ash where the World Trade Center once stood, in addition to the Pentagon,” said Porrino. “During those harrowing efforts, various handlers stated they were so grateful to have a canine partner just to help them get through it.”
Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. said the space has always honored the “fallen and brave,” and now will forever recognize the role dogs had in the aftermath of 9/11. He also acknowledged DiVincenzo for his incredible vision.
“This place is where family members and friends can find solace, and where we all can celebrate the lives and legacies of those lost that day,” said NJ State Senator and Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz. “Today we are adding another dimension that highlights the bond and support that humans have with dogs."
The statue and installation was funded through corporate contributions from The Berger Organization, Community Education Centers, Covanta Energy, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, Laborers’ Local 472 and Verizon.
“Dogs can be very humanizing for people when we stop and recognize their contributions,” Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said. “Putting a statue in their honor helps us remember that we are not alone on this Earth.”