Despite rain storms, Hoboken pays homage to the 56 lives lost on 9/11


Despite some intermittent rain storms, the City of Hoboken still paid homage to the 56 lives lost on September 11th, 2001 – the most of any New Jersey municipality.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

While there was a downpour as the event started, there was a tent erected for the speakers to huddle under and the trees at Pier A Park also provided a bit of shelter from the rain for the 50 or so residents who attended the ceremony.

“We had no inkling that our loved ones would never return through the door or that our first responders and our heroes would be summoned to duty,” began Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

“It is very important for us to realize and to remember that the death toll has actually continued to rise. It is estimated that more than 6,400 first responders, survivors and volunteers have died from illnesses or cancer linked to their time at Ground Zero.”

Bhalla, who is Sikh, also noted that Indian communities have dealt with “countless acts of bigotry, xenophobia, and racism”

The mayor also honored the Arab, Muslim, South Asian and Sikh communities and reflected on “the countless acts of bigotry, xenophobia and racism against these communities,” in the years since the attacks.

Hoboken Council President Emily Jabbour recalled being a student at Boston College when 9/11 occurred 22 years ago and recalled the infamous Welles Crowther, affectionately referred to as “the man in the red bandana,” who saved as many as 18 lives that day.

“When I think about 9/11, I think about Welles and I think about the example he set as a true hero, somebody who wasn’t otherwise necessarily the smartest or the most adept at athletics. But on that day when it called on him he jumped into that fire and he saved many lives.”

Crowther also attended Boston College and was a rookie equities trader at the World Trade Center. Also a volunteer firefighter, made three trips to the sky lobby before he died when the building collapsed. He was just 24 years old.

Hudson County Board of Commissioners Chair Anthony Romano (D-5), who was a Hoboken police officer during 9/11, recalled the difficult aftermath he saw first hand.

“I think of the whole domino effect: obviously the victims, their families who had to receive the news and we at the Hoboken Police Department had to deliver all those death notices. I think of all those armed forces, all those soldiers, sailers, airmen, in the following years that transpired and lost their lives,” he said.

“I think the fact that it wasn’t about Democrat, Republican, it should not have been about nationality because everyone did come together in the best way that they could. Those who tried to point blame only caused divisiveness which hopefully will never occur again.”

As has become standard procedure, the event was an interfaith celebration, with prayers and scriptures read throughout the roughly half hour program.

” … About the heroes that went in the tower: does anyone know what they were thinking? We obviously don’t, because they were not thinking, they acted because they knew this was the right thing to do,” began Rabbi Moshe Schapiro, of Chabad of Hoboken.

“We don’t need to think when we need to be a hero for someone else, we need to act: show up, be there, and learn from all those precious souls who perished on that day and all he first responders – police and firemen, emergency personnel, ambulance people – they just showed up. That is what we need to bring more light and goodness in the world: show up for someone else, be there for a stranger, that will most certainly tip the scale and bring goodness and godliness to usher in universal peace in the world.”

Before the ceremony concluded, clergy members then read the names of those 56 live lost.

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