Making its appearance just days before the Fourth of July, the new "Heroes of 2001" postage stamp had its Hudson County unveiling in Jersey and Hoboken last week.
"It's proper that the Heroes of 2001 stamp have an unveiling here in Jersey City," said Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham at the ceremony held at the Jersey City Main Post Office July 1. "No city outside of Manhattan was more involved in the recovery of New York City than Jersey City."
The new stamp, using a picture from the Record newspaper of Hackensack portraying three New York firemen raising the American flag at Ground Zero, is the U.S. Postal Service's second fundraising or "semipostal" stamp, according to the Jersey City postmaster. The stamp will cost 45 cents (the current price of stamps is 37 cents). The difference between the both prices will be transferred to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Sales will generate funds to assist the families of emergency relief personnel killed or disabled in the line of duty in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
During the ceremony, Cunningham further commended Jersey City's participation in the recovery from the Sept. 11 cataclysm.
"Within 20 minutes of the attack at the World Trade Center, the Jersey City Office of Emergency Management was open. It was the first to open since New York's OEM was located in the Trade Center and had been destroyed," he said.
Cunningham noted that a Jersey City fire truck was one of the first New Jersey emergency vehicles into New York City. A dispatcher named Joseph Zovero, Cunningham added, was on that truck and was later killed in the tower collapses.
Later on in his remarks, Cunningham announced early plans for the construction of a Sept. 11 memorial probably located at Exchange Place. "We have secured 70 tons of steel from the Trade Center wreckage and we are calling on the artists to work up a fitting memorial," said Cunningham. "The memorial will have three purposes. One to memorialize those who lost their lives in the attack, the second to honor those who helped out in the crisis, and the third to express hope for world peace so this can never happen again."
"The Postal Service is proud to honor the men and women who gave their all in the rescue efforts following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11," said Jersey City Postmaster Frank Barone, addressing not only local leaders, but a contingent of Korean War veterans who led the Pledge of Allegiance and numerous civilians in attendance.
New Jersey Police Chief Peter Behrens addressed the loss of life among the emergency worker personnel, stating nearly 400 police, fire, and emergency workers were lost in the disaster.
"They did evacuate 25,000 people from the disaster site," Behrens reminded the audience. "If we forget them, then they died in vain."
In a separate event held Tuesday at the newly renamed Frank Sinatra Post office in Hoboken, Postmaster Arthur Tate invoked the sprit of the heroes stamp in a presentation to community leaders, local firefighters, police officers, EMS workers, veterans and postal workers.
"I believe that this stamp is a reminder of our strength as a nation," said Tate. "We are now able to recognize these brave people that before 9-11 were often taken for granted."
During the ceremony, Mayor David Roberts, a former firefighter, had sincere words of praise for the courageous actions of Hoboken's police, fire, and medical professionals.
"I don't know why it happened, but I do hope we can become a stronger nation because of it," said Roberts. "Being a firefighter myself, I'm very proud that the United States Postal Service has decided to honor the dedicated efforts of area firefighters."