Crowds gathered more than an hour before the scheduled start at 7 p.m., coming from every corner of town. There were senior citizens, young children, police officers, firefighters, and people carting lawn chairs or video cameras.
Although this was the fourth anniversary of the event, for many, the wounds were still fresh.
"This is an important event," said 1st Ward Councilman Ted Connolly, who greeted those coming to remember the 12 known residents of Bayonne who had perished in the attacks, as well as former residents whose names would eventually be memorialized with a plaque.
Mayor Joseph Doria told the crowd that this was an event to remember those who had perished and to keep their memories alive.
The ceremony included a moving bagpipe performance by Aedan Beale and a procession with the color guards from the Bayonne Police Department, Bayonne Fire Department, and veterans' groups.
They led a solemn march into the park, accompanied by members of the Bayonne Memorial Parade Committee, the Bayonne Bridgemen Alumni Mini Corps, selected members of the Bayonne High School March Band, and the Bayonne High School coral group, Sweet Harmony.
Christina Sullivan led the singing of the National Anthem and was followed by comments by Mayor Doria and prayer and reflection by Bayonne church leaders. There was a recitation of the prayers "Let There be Peace on Earth" and "A Prayer for Our Country," and a singing of "God Bless America."
After naming each of the victims, officials and guests lighted candles, many setting them around the nearby temporary memorial to each victim.
Groundbreaking for sculpture
The hour-long commemorative ceremony took place in the evening hours of Sept. 11, although another even more dramatic ceremony was slated for Sept. 15 at the former Military Ocean Terminal, where the groundbreaking of Bayonne's tribute to those lost would take place.
Although not yet firm, Vladimir Putin, the premier of Russia, was expected to attend the Thursday event to personally express his sympathies to the American people and to present Bayonne with the "Tear of Grief," a 100-foot-high sculpture by Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli.
Matthew Murphy, in an essay selected for this year's ceremony, wrote, "Zurab Tsereteli's monument honors and signifies the sorrow and grief of the survivors and families who endured immense pain during the attack."
Murphy celebrated the heroism of the volunteers, friends, police and firefighters who rushed into the rubble of the fallen towers in hopes of rescuing people there.
Mayor Doria invited the citizens of Bayonne to come to the former Military Ocean Terminal (now known at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor) on Thursday, Sept. 15 for the ground breaking ceremony scheduled for 5 p.m.
Twelve from Bayonne to be remembered
On Sept. 11, 2001, 2,973 people died as the result of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the attack on the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and an aborted hijacking of a jet airliner in the skies over Pennsylvania. Although the total has yet to be officially calculated, at lease 12 Bayonne residents lost their lives on that day. They included:
Alysia Basmajian, 23, who worked as an accountant for Cantor Fitzgerald. She worked on the 101st floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center, the second to collapse in the terrorist attacks. She, her husband Anthony, and their child Kaela Grayce, had moved to Bayonne in May 2000. Alysia and Anthony had met, fallen in love and gotten married while at the College of William and Mary.
Ana M. Centeno, 38, was an accountant with Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, she was known to frequent the local gym or jog the track in Stephen Gregg County Park. Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to Jersey City while still in elementary school. She later moved to Bayonne.
John A. Cooper, 40, grew up in Brooklyn, where he excelled in sports. He sold computer software as an account manager for SunGard Trading Systems in Jersey City, and was visiting someone in the World Trade Center at the time of the attack. Friends have described him as nice and with a significant sense of humor.
Colleen Ann Deloughery, 41, worked as a reinsurance specialist for Aon Corp. on the 99th Floor of the World Trade Center. Born in Jersey City, she lived most of her life in Bayonne, where she and her future husband first met as teenagers. They married in 1990. She apparently loved spending time in her tiny back yard with her husband, Jay, and two children Amanda and Michael - along with brothers, sisters and host of other family members.
Ramzi A. Doany, 35, worked as a forensic accountant for Marsh & McLennan, the insurance brokerage company. Doany was born to Palestinian parents in Amman, Jordan, and lived for many years in Milwaukee where he attended the University of Wisconsin. He reportedly loved working in New York City, reading Charles Dickens novels, and Thanksgiving turkey. Just prior to the Sept. 11 attack, he had purchased a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
John Roger Fisher, 46, worked a security consultant to the Port Authority of New York. He helped operate the security system installed after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. When the jetliner struck the North Tower on Sept. 11, he rushed back to New York from a meeting in New Jersey to check on security and help with evacuations.
Orasri Liangthanasarn, 26, worked as a banquet coordinator for Windows on the World restaurant, located on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center, a job she started the month before the attack, after having graduated from New York University's master's program in Food and Nutrition Management. She and her sister came to the United States from Thailand in 1998. After living a year in central Illinois, they moved to Bayonne.
Gavin McMahon, 35, was an insurance executive for Aon Corp. on the 105th floor of South Tower of World Trade Center. A world traveler who originated in England, he moved to the New York area in 1996. He had fallen in love with New York after a prior visit a decade earlier. He and his girlfriend moved to Bayonne a few years later, where he was still renovating a house at the time of the attack. He was particularly fond of Formula One racing and an Irish punk rock band known as Stiff Little Fingers.
Steven P. Morello, 52, worked as a facilities manager of Marsh & McLennan, where he worked for seven years on the 93rd floor of the North Tower. Less than two weeks prior to the attack, he and his wife Eileen had celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. They raised three children: Steven Jr., Alfia, and Jessica.
Kenneth Joseph Tarantino, 39, worked as a currency trader at Cantor Fitzgerald in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He had worked there and also worked as a substitute teacher while going to college. He met his wife while attending college. He eventually got his bachelor's degree in marketing. He was fond of golf, the Yankees, and going to a beach house every summer on the Jersey shore. He and his family had just moved to a bigger house in Bayonne the February prior to the attack, with their 3-year-old son, Kenneth.
Patricia Cushing, 69, a retired service representative for New Jersey Bell, was traveling to San Francisco on vacation with sister-in-law Jane Folger, a retired bank officer, 73, when their plane was hijacked. This was her first flight on a commercial airplane, United Flight 93, which passengers forced down in Pennsylvania to avoid having the hijackers use it as a weapon. Cushing loved music, and became a season ticket holder at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City after her husband died in 1988. She accompanied her sister-in-law, Jane Folger, to every type of cultural event. Folger loved New York City and could not get enough of the stores, theater, Greenwich Village, or the World Trade Center complex, where she loved to shop. The two women lived within a few blocks of each other in Bayonne. They shared the same tastes in conservative classic clothing and enjoyed the benefits of senior citizenship.