Thousands Dedicate ‘Empty Sky’ Memorial For NJ 9/11 Victims

JERSEY CITY, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey honored its residents who died on 9/11 with the unveiling of a monument Saturday in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City waterfront.

Thousands gathered at the ceremony to honor the more than 700 people who perished on Sept. 11th. They were joined by several state officials and lawmakers, including Gov. Chris Christie and five former state governors.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

The ceremony was also to dedicate the “Empty Sky” memorial, named after a Bruce Springsteen song, and designed to look like the World Trade Center towers lying on their side.

empty sky 2 Thousands Dedicate Empty Sky Memorial For NJ 9/11 Victims

The name of each New Jersey 9/11 victim is etched in the stainless steel of the "Empty Sky'' memorial at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

The structure is composed of two 30-foot-high rectangular towers that stretch 208 feet, 10 inches long, the exact width of the Towers.

Designed by architects Jessica Jamroz and Frederic Schwarz, the memorial’s towers are sunk into a berm and divided by a granite walkway that faces on a line to the World Trade Center site across the Hudson River, in lower Manhattan.

The name of each of the 746 victims from New Jersey is etched in the stainless steel in 4-inch-high letters.

Joan Tino of West Caldwell lost her 29-year-old daughter Jennifer in the attacks.

“She was leaving, I heard the door close, and it was funny, like I never heard it close before, knowing it was the last time,” she told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano at the ceremony. “What can I say? She was everything.”

Ten-year-old William Cunningham came to see his father’s s name.

“It hurts that I can’t see him in person, but I can see his name whenever I come here,” he told Mercogliano.

Speaking at the ceremony, Christie said the memorial is long overdue.

“It was clear to me that this was something that needed to be done by today as an honor to them, as a place for them to come and to remember starkly and clearly their loved ones,” he said.

Christie said people should focus on those who lost loved ones on September 11, not on retribution or vengeance.

“I hope that today and tomorrow and the days and weeks and years to come, that we never ever lose our focus on what today is all about,” he said.

He added the memorial acts as an acknowledgement that the lives of the 746 New Jersey victims of 9/11 mattered ten years ago and still matter today.

Please share your thoughts below…

  • Melissa

    Visited the Empty Sky memorial last night to pay my respects to those that I have lost and for all the souls departed too soon. Beautifully placed and well done memorial. It was very comforting to be able to place my hand on the names of those I have lost. Thank you.

  • MP

    My sister lost her father on 9/11. Christi really hit home with this. He pointed out that There are young women who lost their father and they can’t have them walk down the aisle with them. That hit home for my sister.

  • Anthony P

    Im that third kid. I was NOT getting emotional. I was like that the whole time and the sun was right in my face and i was sweating like crazy!!!!

  • Wendy G

    To Peter and All Family and Friends:
    I was a volunteer at the dedication event today. I was honored to have helped in some small way to share in telling the story of all those we lost. May the spirit of love and comfort displayed today continue to support you. I am humbled by your expression of gratitude.
    Thank You.

  • JFK

    Read som emore never told stories:

    “Destruction of the Twin Peaks: 9/11 Stories”


    It was moving, spiritual and well versed. Thank you all who were involved in bringing a calming, spiritual sense to all of us who witnessed, lost family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances on 9.11.01……Thank You. ……………..teknyc

  • Peter

    This was a very beautiful dedication ceremony.It contained moments of solemnity,prayer and political statement. But there was a dignified tone to all that was said and expressed.The monument itself is strategically located and impressive in its presentation.To everyone who brought it to the point of completion and for those who assisted in today’s ceremonies,Thank You,your work is truly appreciated by this 9/11 parent.

    • teknyc

      Very Well Said Peter. Can’t Agree More….God Bless……..teknyc

  • Patrice

    Beautiful ceremony. Never before has anyone spoke to the daughters of victims who didn’t have their dads to walk them down the aisle at their weddings. This hit home for me since my daughter is one of them. Thank you governor Christi for hitting a home run today

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