Monday marks the six-month anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America, and hundreds of Hoboken residents are expected to gather for a waterfront vigil. The city has announced that with the aid of the Hoboken Clergy Coalition, it will hold an interfaith service and candlelight vigil promptly at 6 p.m. The event will take place at Pier A Park and last approximately 30 minutes. The service will include interfaith prayers and readings by members of the Hoboken Clergy Coalition, as well as musical interludes.
During the service, family members of the lost Hoboken residents will be given the opportunity to read aloud the name of the person for whom they are grieving, and to light a candle in remembrance.
It was also announced last week that New York City is scheduled to light a temporary memorial, "The Tribute in Light," on Monday. The tribute will begin at 6:45 p.m. and will consist of two Xenon searchlights sending high-powered beams into the night sky near Ground Zero, to represent the Twin Towers.
Pier A Park was on the list of recommended New Jersey viewing locations issued by the Municipal Arts Society of New York City on Wednesday.
Different ways to recover and remember
In the six months since 9/11, the residents of Hoboken have found different ways to cope with the traumatic events that happened so close to the Mile-Square City.
One outlet the city provided for residents was "9-11 Remembering and Healing" art show, which ran from November through January in the corridors of City Hall. The show has since moved to the rotunda on the first floor of the Hudson County Justice William Brennan Court House in Jersey City, where it will stay until Tuesday, when it moves to a location in Bayonne.
The artwork on display ranges from pieces from local grade school students to powerful black-and-white photographs depicting residents' viewpoints of the fateful day.
The city's Sept. 11 Fund Committee is presently seeking proposals for a memorial on the Hoboken waterfront at Pier A Park. The memorial will honor the memories of Hoboken victims of the World Trade Center tragedy, as well as the spirit that has emerged in the city since.
The Sept. 11 Fund committee was selected in January and hopes to decide on a memorial design within a year and a half. They expect to raise between $250,000 and $500,000 for the project.
"Aside from establishing the Hoboken September 11th Memorial Fund," said Mayor David Roberts Wednesday, "I would also like to offer any assistance possible to the family members of Hoboken's victims of 9/11. It's more than an honor for me to provide such courtesies as visitor parking permits, services from Hoboken's business community and any other assistance which might help these families in there time of grieving."
Hoboken lost around 40 residents in the tragedy. One of those was lost was 35-year-old mother Debbie Williams. Williams and her husband have lived in Hoboken for four years and their daughter Payton was born at St. Mary Hospital slightly less than two years ago.
To commemorate her memory her family, loved ones and friends established the Debbie Williams Memorial Park Fund in November to purchase new park equipment for children at Hudson County's Columbus Park at Ninth and Clinton Street. The fund is still accepting donations at P.O. Box 11387 Newark NJ 07101.
Many seeking support
While some choose public forums to express their grief, many more Hoboken residents turned inward or sought private counseling.
"Some people want to talk and show the pain they are feeling to the world, but there are a lot of people who like the keep it all pent up inside," said 27-year-old Roselyn on Monday. Roselyn has just started going to therapy to deal with her feelings related to 9/11. She lost two close friends. "You tell yourself that you're over it, but I still don't feel normal," she said. "Everything is still different for me, especially living so close. You're reminded everyday."
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a form of anxiety disorder that is triggered by memories of a traumatic event. Since 9/11, many free counseling services have been opened in Hoboken to deal directly with those still affected by the tragedy.
One such service is provided by the Jewish Family and Counseling Services of Jersey City, which opened a office at 51 Garden St. in Hoboken thanks to a $55,000 one-year grant from the United Jewish Community's (UJC) Emergency Relief Fund.
The service in Hoboken is open to anyone in Hoboken, no matter what religion, who lost loved ones or is still suffering from post-traumatic stress following Sept. 11. Those who want more information can call (201) 222-9060.
There has also been a Sept. 11 support group meeting in Hoboken each Monday night for relatives of the deceased. More than a dozen spouses, fianceés, and siblings of the victims turn out each week. For information on that group, call Laurie Wurm at (201) 792-0340. The <i>Hoboken Reporter's</i> article on the group, published in last week's issue, can be found at www.hobokenreporter.com.
Because Hoboken is so close in proximity to Manhattan, there are many residents who still have security concerns. "We're still on the doorstep and still in danger," said Nolan Kudup, 47, of Willow Avenue "There's a lot of us that want to know we are going to be safe at night, and that our children are going to be safe going to school."
While the city has moved slowly, they are in the process of overhauling their emergency management procedures. According the mayor's spokesperson, Michael Estevez, the city's coordinator of emergency management has held regular meetings with representatives from the mayor's office, the fire and police departments, and state and county OEM officials to review procedures. At a meeting just last week, the group made a target date of mid-May to have a finalized updated plan of action in case of another emergency situation.