Bayonne officials held a ceremony to unveil a 20th anniversary memorial for the September 11th, 2001 victims at City Hall earlier this afternoon.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
“Last September 11th on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, the city, and the fire department was scheduled to unveil the monument in front of city hall to memorialize that tragic day,” noted Bayonne Fire Chief Keith Weaver.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the materials for the memorial were delayed in their arrival, Weave said.
“So much time has passed but our firm resolve to remember the victims, including emergency service workers, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters from Bayonne. Their families are here to help dedicate this memorial today,” the fire chief added.
“We made a promise never to forget. And here we are once again. On September 11th, 2001, McCabe emergency ambulance, Bayonne police officers, Bayonne firefighters volunteered for the rescue mission at the World Trade Center.
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis noted that the sheer mention of 9/11 will have an impact for many years to come.
“It brings us all a numbness in our lives. You don’t even have to mention the year and it brings numbness to each and every one of us. We can never ever forget what happened that day,” Davis said.
He noted in the 1993 World Trade Attack Bayonne Police Officer William Macko died trying to help as a first responder as well.
“Today we remember all of them. We are forever in their debt,” the mayor added.
Several other dignitaries from Bayonne and New York also gave their thoughts.
“On 9/11 we all remember where we were. We’ll never forget that. We all lost people and the sense of loss stays with us today,” Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski stated.
“On September 11th, New York City was attacked and the FDNY and NYPD and the Port Authority were on the first line of this War on Terror and made sacrifices,” former FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said, crediting Bayonne first responders for their assistance.
He further stated that the new memorial was created with steel from the World Trade Center.
To that end, Weaver noted the Tunnel to Towers Foundation gave money to pay for the memorial.
Their CEO, Frank Siller, walked 537 miles from the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. to Ground Zero to commemorate the 9/11 attacks on the 20th anniversary and crossed the Bayonne Bridge doing so.
“It wasn’t too long ago that I walked through this town. You have to live your life but you can’t forget the sacrifice that was made. My brother put 60 pounds of gear on his back and had a choice,” he recalled today.
He explained his brother Steve, who was a firefighter, died at Ground Zero after running through the Brooklyn Battery (now Hugh L. Carey) Tunnel with 60 pounds of gear on his back to save others.
“He could have gone somewhere else and teamed up with other people. But he had a calling. He gave his life,” Siller said.
Weaver noted Tunnels to Towers Foundation gave 200 mortgage-free homes to families of first responders. They also paid off the mortgage of the late Jersey City Police Det. Joseph Seals, a Bayonne native, who died in the December 2019 domestic terrorist incident in Jersey City.
Bayonne resident John Cupo said he was there on 9/11 and rushed from his real estate office on 30th and 8th in Lower Manhattan.
“Most people ran away. I went toward it,” he said.
He added that became covered in dust and caught chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma as a result and has been treated by the WTC Health Organization for his ailments since then.