Families, Friends Of The Fallen Flock To Empty Sky Memorial In Jersey City

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey communities remembered the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks from the banks of the Hudson River to the bedroom communities that nearly 750 victims called home.

Wreath-laying ceremonies, interfaith services and other events aimed at honoring those killed while focusing on the future were held throughout the state.

New Jersey residents died at the World Trade Center, aboard the hijacked jetliners and at the Pentagon.

REMEMBERING 9/11: Full Coverage | Iconic Images | Anniversary Events

At the Empty Sky Memorial at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, a lone bagpiper walked down the granite path that directly points to ground zero.

“It’s just a beautiful sight to remember 9/11 and everyone who lost their lives,” Jersey City Fire Capt. John Ripnick told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Tammi Powlen of Bayonne said she brought her children so they could see the names etched on the stainless steel walls.

“I want to raise them knowing what happened and hoping that one day, they will be a part of helping that it never happens again,” she said.

Stu Freedman told Sloan he lost his good friend on 9/11.

“There were no words you can say. He was just a great guy,” Freedman said.

The name of the memorial, which was dedicated in 2011 and is home to the names of 749 victims, was actually taken from the Bruce Springsteen song “Empty Sky,” which was written about 9/11. It is a very emotional place for victims’ families.

Members of the military remembered, too. Two airmen walked a flag that was flown in Afghanistan from McGuire Air Force Base to ground zero.

“There’s 10 of us and we have 20 different legs we’re doing,” said Master Sgt. Matt O’Leary. “I have lost friends and co-workers and it’s time to remember the sacrifices that especially the military made and the people who lost their lives on that day.”

In Middletown, a wreath-laying ceremony took place Thursday morning to remember the 37 residents who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I just remember the day so clear,” one man who lost his son, a Port Authority police officer, told 1010 WINS’ Rebecca Granet. “It don’t seem like 13 years ago.”

Many towns had events that emphasize the spirit of volunteerism and community participation that came about in the days following the 2001 attacks.

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