The City of Jersey City reflected on the lives lost on September 11th, 2001 at their 18th annual reflections ceremony held in front of the waterfront memorial.
By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View
Joseph Lovero had a heart condition which made him ineligible from passing the required test to become a firefighter.
Still, having grown up five doors down from a firehouse on Bergen Avenue, he “lived and breathed the Jersey City Fire Department,” reads an excerpt from “Report from Ground Zero.”
The book details the accounts of the rescue efforts by the fire, police and emergency medical teams on Sept. 11, 2001 and the days that followed.
Lovero joined the Jersey City Gong Club, an organization that provides rehab services at fire scenes, later became a civilian fire dispatcher and would even turn up at fires to help firefighters on the scene.
18 years ago, after completing a morning shift as a dispatcher, Lovero, 60, rushed to the scene of the World Trade Center Attack and would not return.
When family members “found him at the morgue he was lying between (FDNY Chief Peter J. Ganci Jr.) and (FDNY Commissioner William M. Feehan), which is a great honor for a for a dispatcher from Jersey City,” Report from Ground Zero reads.
His name, along with the names of 36 other people from Jersey City, are etched into a memorial on the waterfront of Grand Street, where the 9/11 remembrance ceremony is held every year.
Nearly 3,000 people died on Sept. 11, 2001 — a day that significantly altered the course of history, and the effects of which continue to reverberate — be it the lingering mental health effects or the physical ailments of the survivors and first responders.
“It was just devastation, even four or five weeks after it had happened,” Jersey City Fire Chief Steve McGill said. “They say never forget, but it’s kind of one of those days you don’t want to remember. But … you have to remember.”
Names were read at the memorial site, where twisted metal from the twin towers is repurposed to honor the deceased.
“They had their coffee or tea, smiled, shared pleasantries with friends and relatives, locked the doors of their homes, and never returned,” said Gary Nye, Co-Chairman of the 9/11 Committee of Jersey City who MC’d the event.
“We’re here to reflect and remember, not to forget after we part company today and go about our business … It’s all of our responsibility.”
Man dignitaries and local leaders were in attendance, including Mayor Steven Fulop, Council President Rolando Lavarro, Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano, and others. Some gave remarks and recalled where they were that day.
Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31), who spoke at the ceremony, had rushed in his car to the former Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne when the first plane hit the north tower.
“Quite frankly, I was interested in getting a closer look: I thought it was a freak accident like many of us did. At 9:03 we realized we were under attack,” he said.
“The entire world went silent that day … but we saw the resilience of our people. And in the weeks that followed … we heard these incredible stories of courage,” he said. “That’s what I hold onto.”
Follow Corey McDonald on Twitter @cwmcdonald_