WEST ORANGE, NJ – The public is invited to the 16th annual “Essex County Remembers” 9/11 ceremony at the Essex County Eagle Rock September 11th Memorial at the Eagle Rock Reservation on Monday at 8 a.m.
According to Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., people spontaneously came to Eagle Rock Reservation after the attacks to view the tragedy unfold at the Twin Towers and to leave cards, letters, photos and flowers in an impromptu memorial in honor of their loved ones.
“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,” he said. “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. We must never forget the importance of this day and remember all those who lost their lives.”
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, just over a year after the attacks. Its many elements 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.
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 crewmembers aboard the four airplanes that crashed. In 2011, a 7,400-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 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.