WEST ORANGE, NJ – A solemn “Essex County Remembers” ceremony at the Essex County Eagle Rock September 11th Memorial will mark the 15th anniversary of the tragedies in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. invites the public to the annual ceremony at 8 a.m. on Sept. 11 at the Essex County Eagle Rock Reservation.

After the attacks, according to DiVincenzo, people from all over Essex County spontaneously came to Eagle Rock Reservation to view the tragedy unfold at the Twin Towers and left cards, letters, photos and flowers in an impromptu memorial in honor of their loved ones. The annual ceremony reminds residents to never forget the importance of the day and to always remember those who lost their lives.

“I knew immediately that this was the natural location for a memorial because of the public attraction to this site and the unparalleled view of the World Trade Center from the lookout area,” said DiVincenzo. “Our September 11th Memorial is a special place for people to come for solace and comfort because of its unique location and its powerful message of peace and hope. I encourage everyone to take time out of their day to mark the 15h anniversary of September 11th and visit this revered site.”

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A brief program with family members who lost a loved one in the tragedies, elected officials and clergy members from diverse religious faiths will be held at 8 a.m. Memorial wreaths will be laid at the monument and a new American flag will be raised.

A string quartet will perform reverent selections of music at the memorial site after the ceremony until 2 p.m.

The Essex County Eagle Rock September 11th Memorial was dedicated in October 2002 with many elements that pay tribute to the men and women, police officers, firefighters and other first responders who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania and aboard the four airplanes that crashed that day.

At the time, it was the only 9/11 memorial to list all 3,000 victims’ names until 2011 when the World Trade Center Memorial was dedicated.

In 2009, the Essex County 9/11 Memorial was expanded to include a monument honoring the 33 flight crew members aboard the four airplanes that crashed. In 2011, a 7400-pound steel and concrete artifact from the World Trade Center foundation was installed at the site and a bronze plaque was dedicated to honor emergency medical technicians who responded to Ground Zero and those who provided aid to people returning from New York across the Hudson River.

In August of 2016, the Essex County Search and Rescue Dog Statue was dedicated at the site 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.