WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Sept. 11 memorial in a New Jersey town has angered residents and first responders. Because of the outrage, politicians were forced to have it removed.
The 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan is set in the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood. Etched in bronze are the names of the victims.
But on Warren County’s Washington Township 9/11 memorial only the names of the mayor, committee members and the township administrator are on the granite marker — not the victims of the terror attacks.
The outrage that’s followed has been unbelievable, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
“When I saw was written on the stone I got really, really angry,” former police officer and bagpipe player Dennis Ryan said. “Three thousand people lost their lives and they’re going to get their names memorialized in granite? It’s unconscionable. I couldn’t believe it.”
Ryan played the bagpipes at the Township’s dedication ceremony. He was so upset he took a picture of the granite marker that stood next to the steel from the World Trade Center before it was removed because of the controversy.
“The stone actually sat on about a 45-degree angle to the rest of the monument,” Ryan said.
The Township referred Sloan to Mayor Samir Elbassiouny, whose picture, along with the others, is displayed in the township building. He declined to be interviewed, but issued a statement, saying “I apologize if anyone was offended. The intent was to honor the victims and in no way was this meant to be disrespectful.”
In fact, he said the marker was rushed and the names placed on it as a sign of support.
Some people aren’t buying that.
“What do the politicians have to do with it? It’s the people who perished, their families who are suffering,” resident John Zarra said.
The mayor wouldn’t tell Sloan where the stone was taken to but said the names will be taken off and a new inscription will be placed on the stone, one that says dedicated to the victims of 9/11, those who died at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and on Flight 93.
It’s unclear who ordered the stone marker. Some committee members said they didn’t know their names would be on it. The only thing the mayor told Sloan is that he didn’t realize the names would be so big and prominent.
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