Jersey City will begin its ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 10, when Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham will lead a group of people from the rear of City Hall down Montgomery Street to Exchange Place, where attendees will take part in a candlelight vigil overlooking the World Trade Center site. At exactly 8:30 a.m. sharp the morning of Sept. 11, observers will congregate at the site of Jersey City's temporary memorial - the steel and granite memorial located on the Jersey City waterfront at the foot of Grand Street - to observe moments of silence at each of the times the two WTC towers were hit.
In addition to the moments of silence, city officials will be unveiling the design finally chosen for the permanent Jersey City Sept. 11 Memorial.
Also in Jersey City on Sept. 11 will be Hudson County's official observance of the anniversary, at 6 p.m. near the Sept. 11 Memorial Fountain in Journal Square. After a moment of silence honoring the county residents killed in the attack, the county will debut its newly-formed "Annual 9-11 Volunteer Awards" to five county residents or employees for their volunteer services at the makeshift triage units set up on the Jersey City waterfront two years ago.
Those who participated in the triage and are getting the awards include Jersey City's Geoffrey Elkind, a Hamilton Park resident and officer of the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association, and Ron Hammond, the manager at the C.H. Martin discount store in Journal Square.
Other award winners are North Bergen residents Deborah Monker and William DeFazio and the Jersey City Medical Center Chief of Medicine Dr. Robert LaHita. After receiving proclamations from their home cities and the county of Hudson, both the honorees and other ceremony attendees will be treated to a reception in the lobby of the Landmark Loews Theatre across the street.
Giving a man his due
Another facet of this year's county memorial service is the placing of the official Port Authority 9-11 insignia next to the engraved name of Nathaniel Webb on a fountain in Journal Square that honors the 37 Jersey City residents killed. Webb is a Port Authority Police Officer killed in the line of duty. When local AM radio talk show host Patrick O'Melia set out last year to engrave onto the fountain the names of the residents, he wasn't aware that Webb was a PA cop. Only after talking with another Port Authority police officer about the fountain did O'Melia learn of Webb's affiliation. He has re-contracted Burns Brothers Memorials, the Tonnele Avenue engraving firm that did work on both of Jersey City's Sept. 11 memorials, to add the image commonly seen on Port Authority uniforms.
O' Melia said that these ceremonies will ensure that the events of Sept. 11 - and the sheer number of lives that were impacted - never falls from our collective consciousness.
"I think what we need to do is remember what occurred on 9-11 and not let it slip out of our memories," O'Melia said. "[This] is the case with Pearl Harbor, which only gets a five-minute blip on newscasts nowadays."
Other memorial sites in Jersey City include the Grove of Remembrance at the northern end of Liberty State Park, a living memorial of 691 different varieties of trees that each represent a New Jerseyan killed in the terror attacks.
Families launch charities
As a method of coping with the loss of a loved one, some families of Jersey City residents killed in the terrorist attacks have launched annual events named in the memory of who was killed, to benefit local charities or institutions.
The family of former Reservoir Avenue resident Christopher Dincuff began an annual golf outing last year to fund a scholarship award in Dincuff's name to the salutatorian of South River High School, Dincuff's Central Jersey alma mater.
The Saddle River-based family of slain Jersey City resident Robert Alan Zampieri has also decided to organize a golf outing. But their benefit will raise money a bit more locally - Jersey City's St. Anthony High School [SAHS] will be the beneficiary.
Although the Zampieri family had never had any previous contact with SAHS, Robert Zampieri's mother Patricia first discovered the school after reading an article in the sports section of a newspaper. Upon learning that the school was experiencing declining enrollment and a post-Sept. 11 drop in fundraising, Patricia Zampieri said she had an epiphany: SAHS would be the perfect entity to support in her son's name.
"I had never heard of [SAHS] before, but I was impressed with what I read about the school and the students," Patricia Zampieri said in a release. "When I saw that it was located in Jersey City, I knew this was the perfect project for us to undertake."
SAHS administrators expressed gratitude at the Zampieris' generosity.
"When we first heard about what the Zampieris were planning, we were overwhelmed," said SAHS principal Sr. Mary Felicia in a release. "No doubt we needed the money and were extremely grateful, but we were touched that we, our little school, could help this family deal with their grief and create something positive from an otherwise tragic situation."
Robert Zampieri, 30, worked as an Asian markets commodities trader for Carr Futures. His office was located on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower.
"When our son Robbie was killed, we were beside ourselves with grief," Patricia said. "The first anniversary was more than we could bear - we finally realized he wasn't coming back. We needed a project, a plan, something - anything, to help us mend."
The First Annual Robbie Zampieri Golf Classic and Scholarship Fund will take place Monday (Sept. 8) at the Knickerbocker Country Club in Tenafly. Although golf spaces are sold out, contributions are welcome and dinner tickets are still available. Call (201) 944-1027 for more information.