JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBS 2) — A gleaming new 9/11 memorial for the Garden State opens this weekend.
CBS 2’s Dave Carlin got the first tour of a project that is finally done after weathering legal challenges and the economic downturn.
Two gleaming walls cut into a grassy hill, creating a walkway that directs the eye across the river to the footprints of the two missing towers. The name of this memorial in Liberty State Park is “Empty Sky,” taken from the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name.
“It’s beyond our expectations,” said Rick Cahill, Carlin’s guide through the memorial and a father who knows the meaning of 9/11 loss all too well.
Cahill, a municipal bond salesman from West Caldwell, lost his son, Scott, an employee at Cantor Fitzgerald. His son was just 30 years old.
“We all learn to cope. That’s what we do,” Cahill said.
He spearheaded fundraising efforts to make this memorial a reality, but the project was delayed by a lawsuit challenging the use of the park land and the blocking of city views.
However, supporters got past that hurdle, plus financial hardships to get to the design phase and the finished monument in time for the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks.
The walls are more than 30 feet high, but all 746 names are positioned in a manner easy to read and touch.
“I’ve only been to ground zero once since the attacks. That was the one-month anniversary and I haven’t been back since, so this does give me and my family a place to come and reflect. That is as I said closer to home easier to get to,” Cahill said.
Some 3,500 people are expected at Saturday’s dedication ceremony. They are coming back to a spot where people came to flee ground zero. The next time they return here will be to never forget.
The total cost for the project was $12 million. The funding came from public and private sources.
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