"We'll do something Chris would have done," said Amoroso, a North Bergen native who lost his son, a Port Authority police officer and former North Bergen High School football player, in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center four years ago today. "Last year, we stopped in Belmar and had a beer for him. I have a picture of Chris with my granddaughter [Sophia Rose], sitting on his knee. I can still hear him calling me 'Papa.' I can hear the music like it was yesterday. I can't believe it's already four years. It's gone by so fast."
Added Amoroso, "We try to celebrate Chris' life. I have my memories of my son. My philosophy is simple. I try to keep everything in front of me. If I do that, I can deal with it. If I let it get behind me, then that's when I'm in trouble. We will visit the cemetery [in Staten Island, where the late police officer resided with his wife, Jaime, and daughter at the time of the tragedy], then we'll do something Chris would have done, like watch the Yankees. And we'll sit and reflect a little. He's always with us."
The elder Amoroso still keeps busy, working in security for Con Edison in New York. He's also Con Ed's liaison for the joint terrorist task force and liaison for the Department of Homeland Security.
"I feel like I'm giving a little something back," Charlie Amoroso said.
His son was on duty that fateful day, shuttling people out of the North Tower to safety. In fact, there was a photograph taken of Christopher carrying a woman to safety that was published all over. It was the last photo taken of the officer, because he was trapped inside the building when it came down.
"An artist took that picture and made a painting of Chris carrying the girl," Charlie Amoroso said. "It has the ruins of the Trade Center in the background. It's a great painting. I was lucky to get a lithograph of the painting. That picture has made its way around the country."
The painting is now on display at the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, where Amoroso was slated to be Friday. He was going to the nation's capital for a few reasons.
"We have a little bit of everything going on," Amoroso said. "We're going to be involved all weekend long."
Since his son's tragic passing, Amoroso got involved with a group called "United in Memory," an organization that was formed to help those who lost someone on 9/11. Through that group, a woman from Wales decided to begin making a quilt honoring all the victims of the tragedy. She started her quilt with a patch in the memory of Christopher.
"She wanted to start with a police officer and she was intrigued by Chris' story," Charlie Amoroso said. "Other people added to the quilt and the quilt was brought to New Jersey recently [to Brookdale Community College] where they displayed it."
Also, Amoroso's daughter, Jessica, is involved with an a cappella singing group called "Rebel Yell" formed at Howell High School, where she attends. Rebel Yell performed at Brookdale that day and they were invited to sing again at George Washington University Saturday as part of the unveiling of the 9/11 Memorial Quilt there. "I was invited to go along as a chaperone," Amoroso said.
More family members pitching in While Jessica and Charlie Amoroso are at George Washington University, his daughter-in-law Jaime is slated to receive an award for Christopher, the equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor, at a ceremony at the Capitol Building.
Chris' daughter Sophia Rose Amoroso, now 5 years old, will also attend that ceremony.
"The seating there was very limited," Charlie Amoroso said.
From Washington, the family was slated to drive to Atlantic Highlands, N.J. for the unveiling of a 9/11 memorial there, a sculpture of the World Trade Centers in a park that faces the Manhattan skyline.
"We try not to go to too many ceremonies, because it still hurts," Amoroso said. "Days like that could bring it all back to me. It's a little easier now. I still have friends who have a tough time talking to me about it."
Preserving memories Charlie Amoroso's daughter has been keeping a scrapbook of articles about her beloved brother.
"Each time something else comes up," Charlie Amoroso said, "it just gets added to the book."
Oliver Stone has been intrigued with the story of the five Port Authority police officers who went into the North Tower together. With Nicolas Cage slated to star, the movie "Last Two Out," will begin filming shortly.
"We'll be involved with that as well," Amoroso said.
So while the years past and the commemoration of the fourth anniversary of that horrific day takes place today, Charlie Amoroso feels that he's able to handle the pain a little more now than when he first lost his son.
"It does help being around people who care," Amoroso said. "It makes it all easier to take. I would have had a rough time going through this alone. I have my sons, my daughter, my grandchildren. I think we're all dealing with it as best as possible."
Amoroso always has a piece of his son with him. He had his son's shield number tattooed to his shoulder, as did his other two sons. Amoroso, his wife Donna, and his daughter and sons all wear a replica of Christopher's shield on gold chains around their necks.
"He's always with us," Charlie Amoroso said. "That will never change."
North Bergen remembers victims North Bergen remembered Christopher Amoroso and the other North Bergen/Guttenberg residents who perished that day four years ago, including two fellow Port Authority officers, David LeMagne and Lt. Robert Cirri, in a ceremony near the town's memorial at the high school Friday morning.
The North Bergen High School band performed and reflections were made by Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Superintendent of Schools Peter Fischbach.
Other North Bergen residents who perished that day included Lizzette Mendoza, who worked in the World Trade Center for Aon Corp; Mark Motroni, who worked for Carr Futures; and William Cashman, a passenger on Flight 93. Rebecca Lee Koborie was a Guttenberg resident who also died on 9/11.
MEMORIAL - The 9/11 Memorial outside North Bergen High School recalls those from the township who were lost.