I’d like to take the time to reflect back on this day in American History. For the record, 749 New Jerseyans were killed in the both World Trade Center attacks, including 1993. I thought it would be appropriate to visit the official New Jersey 9/11 Memorial this time of year. It’s called ‘Empty Sky’ and its located in Liberty State Park.
This memorial is dedicated to the state’s victims who were senselessly murdered. In light of the 16th anniversary of 9/11, we remember those who perished.
The Chairwoman of the ‘Empty Sky Foundation,’ Faith Miller, is also a widow from the 9/11 Attacks. I spoke with her in great depth about that fateful day and what she contributed to our state in memory of the victims. “Whether they died in the World Trade Center, Shanksville, The Pentagon or from the debris, we can’t help it, it’s just what happened. There are 749 dead from New Jersey. The Empty Sky lists the names just as randomly as they died, and with that said, this is my husband here on panel 44.” She reaches out to Robert Allan Miller’s name on the wall.
The families of the New Jersey victims of these attacks chose this 2.6-acre site to honor their dead. On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Governor Chris Christie unveiled the memorial.
At the ceremony Christie said, “Here in this museum, we are reminded to pause and remember how many came to help us, and that the true gift of friendship and fellowship can be born out of the night.”
As you can see, these brushed stainless steel twin walls are 210 feet long. It is the same width of each side of the World Trade Center towers. They rise 30 feet tall, standing parallel with a 12-foot wide paved path of bluestone between them. However, the name ‘Empty Sky,’ means so much more.
Miller puts it simply. “It was simple and yet it was very meaningful. Bruce Springsteen had a song called ‘Empty Sky’ and it was very meaningful. You would look up and see the empty sky where the Twin Towers once stood.”
The names of each victim are engraved in stainless steel, allowing you to reach out and touch the lives that now only exist in our memories.
Miller reminds us that it is “very, very important that we do not forget the nearly 3,000 people that we lost that fateful day. They went to work; they went about their business like any other day. They were innocent people that were senselessly murdered.”
The foundation was turned into a 501-C3 in 2008, so that the state would be assisted in funding. Each member of the board is a volunteer and are all family members.
I urge you to visit this memorial and enjoy the breathtaking view of Manhattan from the vantage point of Liberty State Park. The memorial invites visitors to look toward the empty sky in memory and look forward as a community.
Miller adds, “No matter where you are, if you are suffering from losing a family member, at the hands of a terrorist, a senseless murder that should not happen. We really need more peace and love in this world."
I couldn’t agree with Faith more. We need more peace and love in this world.
When I stood before this memorial, it reminded me of our freedom, our tolerance and our pursuit of happiness…. The very essence of what our country stands for.
For the full video, check out this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2XV3KDnmzA
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