MIDDLETOWN, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Jerseyans across the state are marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with events offering a poignant mixture of sadness and hope while honoring the 746 state residents killed on that day.
Emphasizing the incredible spirit of volunteerism and community participation shown on that day, residents, officials, first-responders and families who lost loved ones gathered at events around the state.
New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez spent the morning in New York City at the new 9/11 memorial to reflect on the lives of the state residents who lost their lives ten years ago.
“I think it’s hard when you look at these two footprints of where the World Trade Center was and those New Jersey lives as part of nearly 3,000 American lives and the magnitude of that loss, it almost defies words,” he told WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb and Peter Haskell.
To listen to the full interview with Sen. Menendez, click here.
Back in New Jersey in Middletown, the town’s memorial garden stands to honor its 37 residents killed on September 11th.
The path is paved with the memories of residents who left for work on that terrible day and never returned home.
“This is a very hard day and the pain never goes away,” said Rosemary D’Amato who lost her sister. “It does help because we’re sharing the same grief. With time, I hope it can become less and less.”
Each year, families and friends gather at the garden to remember. They place mementos and tokens of love at the granite stones that have the faces of each of the victims etched on them.
Mary Lou Byrd lost her nephew and sister.
“Every year, you think it will get easier and it doesn’t,” said Byrd. “I think it’s because it’s a such public event, it makes it more difficult.”
In Jersey City, residents and first-responders gathered Sunday morning along the waterfront across the river from Ground Zero for a memorial service full of songs, poetry and shared memories of the 37 city residents lost that day.
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy says despair is giving way to hope as Ground Zero rebuilds and people focus on moving forward while never forgetting those lost.
In nearby Bayonne, several first responders and volunteers who assisted in the search for survivors ten years ago paused at a 9/11 memorial to say prayers and lay flowers.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered flags to flown at half-staff across the state Sunday to mark the anniversary.
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