Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:29 am Post subject: 9/11 memorials fading from fatigue
9/11 memorials fading from fatigue
6 years later, fewer remembrances for horror we can't forget
Sunday, September 09, 2007
BY JUDY PEET
In Westfield, weeds have taken over the brick walkways around the 9/11 memorial and heavy traffic exhaust has left its mark on the obelisk.
In Morris County -- where fundraising to expand the 9/11 county memorial is stalled for lack of interest -- visitors can no longer throw coins into the pool around the existing monument, custodians said, because the homeless went wading for change and "we were afraid somebody would drown."
In Middletown, where an estimated 2,000 people attended the 9/11 ceremony last year, Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger said events have been scaled "way back" because "nobody really wanted something that big again."
Six years. 2,191 days since that worst morning imaginable.
No one can forget what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, but now in the second half of the decade since it happened, no one is quite sure how to remember it.
While year five was commemorated with speeches, bands, bagpipes, choirs and even heads of state, year six in New Jersey -- 691 state residents lost their lives on 9/11 -- is arriving with a sigh.
There are, of course, dozens of memorial services throughout the state, including -- in Bayonne -- a long overdue dedication of a memorial to William Macko, the one New Jerseyan who lost his life in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
There will be a major event at, or at least near, Ground Zero in Manhattan. There will be controversy in Jersey City as the names of living politicos are added to the Circle of Honor on the memorial there. And there will be speeches, prayers and a color guard, followed by a string quartet, at the state's most widely visited 9/11 site, the Essex County memorial in Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange.
But equally notable are the number of New Jersey municipalities that quietly abandoned any organized 9/11 services this year.
Many of the relatives of the victims said they were dismayed. But not surprised.
"I know there are people who feel it's time to stop and there is a great effort to get it behind us," said Diane Horning, who lost her 26-year-old son, Matthew, at the World Trade Center. "I'm not resentful, but I am very sad. I hate to see it be forgotten."
Horning lives in Scotch Plains, where three residents died on 9/11. Mayor Martin Marks said there will be a moment of silence at the council meeting Tuesday night, but no other official ceremonies.
"It's a sensitive subject, but it is getting more difficult to organize these events," Marks said. "A moment at the meeting will have to suffice."
A PLACE TO MOURN
That's not enough for Ronnie Viglione of Parsippany, whose brother, Staten Islander Thomas Sabella, was one of the firefighters killed at Ground Zero.
"I need a ceremony. I need a place where I can go and lay a wreath and I don't have a cemetery to go to," said Viglione, whose brother's body, like Matt Horning's, was one of an estimated 1,500 never recovered. "Yeah, I know people are getting tired of it, but some of the victims are only now beginning to address their grief.
"They still need to know that other people care," she said.
Nowhere in New Jersey was harder hit than Middletown, where 37 residents never came home on 9/11. The Monmouth County municipality built the only memorial where the faces of the victims are etched on individual black marble monuments.
It is a beautiful site, carved out of some neglected woods across the street from the train station. A brick path wanders through the grove overlooking a pond with a fountain. The foliage is by now lush and mature.
The memorial backs onto a residential street, where neighbors have complained about parking problems created by memorial visitors. The grove takes a lot of upkeep. Already there are marks where part of the walkway had to be replaced.
"We all keep an eye on the memorial; we're all sort of caretakers," said Scharfenberger. "We go to church with the victims' families and we will never forget. But last year, at least half the families didn't even participate in the memorial service.
"Some have moved on and some have moved away completely," he said. "We want to respect that, too."
This Tuesday, Middletown will have a wreath-laying ceremony at 8:46 a.m., the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center, followed by a walk through the gardens.
ON WITH LIFE
Another factor affecting the services is that the day falls for the first time on a Tuesday, the same day of the week as Sept. 11, 2001.
"Nobody, including victims' families, should say what other people should do that day," said Nikki Stern of Princeton, who lost her husband, James Potorti. "People will go to work that day, other people will get married; they will be living their lives, which is what should happen.
"I suspect that the service that will always count is the one at Ground Zero, primarily because so much is unresolved," added Stern, referring to the war, the controversy over plans for the site, and the dispute over the whereabouts of remains of nearly half the victims.
"For myself, and this is purely a personal decision, after the first couple of years, memorial services didn't matter," she said.
What has continued to grow over the passage of time has been events that evolved out of the World Trade Center attacks.
Patriotic walks and 9/11 memorial races are now standard in places like Elizabeth and Belmar. A Web site called myGoodDeed.org, begun last year to encourage people to translate their feelings about 9/11 into helping someone else, posted 150,000 deeds last year and 40,000 more intentions for 2007.
In Morris County, backlash against Muslims after 9/11 united diverse interfaith groups, who joined with anti-war activists to form the American Joint Multi-Faith Association/People of Peace and Justice.
From 20 to 30 people for a 9/11 memorial service in 2003, the group attracted about 300 people for its religious tolerance forum and peace walk in Rockaway Borough in 2006, said organizer Jim Milway, adding he hopes for similar attendance at their service tonight at the Rockaway Presbyterian Church.
"We're not going to convert everybody to love and peace, but at least we are bringing people together to discuss the issues," said Milway. "Too many events connected with 9/11 have become politicized. We are trying to help people keep open hearts and open minds."
Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:56 pm Post subject: In todays Sundays Star Ledger Echo Lake WTC site,
The memorial which was dedicated in 2003 wasn't mentioned at all.
The two lower beams of North Tower which stands on a hill overlooking
the grassy hill that hosts the summertime concert series.. I wonder
how many people visited this memorial?. including myself...
Funny how people forget these troubled times...American Flags where
a rage for 2 months and than stopped selling...
I was at the Red Cross Jacob Javitts Center building handing out
bottled water and food and blankets to the center. It wasn't a nice
site and the dust was all over the streets..
In October 1 I walked to the pit which was the WTC site I seen something
I only seen in movies and imaginary dreams..a huge hole where 2 massive gleaming twin towers once stood. In the 26 years the twin
towers stood I have visited had dinners parties and attended weddings.
Six years later I still have the same feelings of remorse and anger.. _________________ Have you Greased the Palm of a Politician Today!!
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