Architecture: Empty Sky: New Jersey's September 11th Memorial
On the morning of
September 11th, 2001, with the skies
so clear that the Twin Towers
across the river appeared to be
within reach, the very essence
of what our country stands for –
freedom, tolerance and the
pursuit of happiness – was attacked.
This memorial is dedicated to
New Jersey’s innocent loved ones
who were violently and senselessly
murdered that day at the
World Trade Center, the Pentagon
and in Shanksville, PA.
Let this memorial
reflect the legacies of those
whose lives were lost,
that their unfulfilled dreams
and hopes may result in a
better future for society.
Their unique qualities
and characteristics enriched
our lives immeasurably
and through this memorial,
their stories live on.
Though the magnitude of the September 11th tragedy continues to affect the world, no lives have been more irrevocably changed than those of the family and friends of the innocent loved ones who were murdered that day. New Jersey lost 749 magnificent people. “Empty Sky” remembers those lost while simply and powerfully connecting New Jersey to Ground Zero. As people gathered at Liberty State Park on the Hudson River to first witness the event, organize rescue efforts and then remember and mourn, they found strength in their community. “Empty Sky” honors both the memory of those lost and the special place that they called home – New Jersey.
Twin walls transect a gently sloped mound anchored by a granite path that is directed toward Ground Zero. The length of each wall is exactly equal to one side of the former World Trade Center Towers as the height of the wall reflects proportion of the former buildings if they were lying on their side. The seven hundred and forty nine (749) victims’ names from the State of New Jersey face one another on the interior elevations of the twin brushed stainless steel walls within easy reach. The walls channel visitors to the location in the Manhattan skyline where the former World Trade Center towers once stood. The low, grassy berm surrounding the walls softly rises to ten feet and then gradually returns to the level of the promenade creating an amphitheatre-like incline that faces Lower Manhattan. Clusters of weeping cherry trees atop the berm unify the landscape and reinforce the magnificent panoramic views of Lower Manhattan and the harbor.
Dedication ceremonies took place September 10, 2011 and were attended by a number of notable political figures, including Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, five former governors of the state, presidential advisor John O. Brennan, Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez and family members of those whose names are enscribed on the monument.