Toni and John are in front of the 9/11 Memorial at Mount Mitchell in Atlantic Highlands.
It is one of the highest points on the east coat from Maine to the Yucatan Peninsula. The eagle is clutching in his talons a bent piece of steel from The World Trade Center. The names of the 147 people from Monmouth County who died that day are inscribed along the base. They were very young. John and Toni's paw are on a different colored strip of cement. Those strips start at the beginning of the path leading up to the statue, and each strip has a time on it from when the first attack happened to the total collapse of the towers. In the background to the left is the skyline of NYC.
At the memorial, there is a ramada that is covered with wisteria in the spring and is a beautifully peaceful place to stand and look out at the NYC skyline.
The Atlantic Highlands Marina was filled with First Responders to take care of the injured the day of the attack, but no injured came. Those who did arrive by ferry were covered with soot, and many did not know where they were; they just jumped on a ferry to "get the hell out of there!" Ironically, as a result of this, many ended up settling in Monmouth County because they could commute to NYC by ferry. The marina parking lots in Atlantic Highlands and Highlands had unclaimed cars for days because the owners had died!
The smell of jet fuel and the stench of death permeated the air for days in and around Atlantic Highlands.
My mother went to the Emergency Room that day in Allentown, PA., three hours from NYC. She was suffering from chest pains, and she and my father were sent home after a very long wait in order to make room for injured that would be coming from NYC. No one came!
These personal anecdotes make real and personal a mind-boggling tragedy.