ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners hosted the Monmouth County September 11 Memorial Ceremony today at Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook with those who lost loved ones from Monmouth County on September 11, 2001.
“Twenty years ago as we all started the day, we never thought something like this could happen. I think the reflection today is that it could happen” said Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone. “We need to stay united as a country. As we look across to Manhattan, 20 years ago at this time, the sky was as clear as it is now. That just doesn’t happen. I truly believe this is meant for a reason which is for each and every one of us to look across and say, ‘Never forget.’”
“In the midst of chaos, destruction and heartache, to me, one image stands above all others that day. The sight of the American flag rising above Ground Zero. It served as a reminder; we will rise,” said Commissioner Ross F. Licitra, liaison to the Monmouth County Park System. “Today, there are angels among us. We share our hearts with the 147 members of our Monmouth County family who were taken far too soon. To the families and loved ones of those we lost, we will never forget them.”
“Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing. I was in Washington chairing a Veteran’s Affairs Committee hearing when a group of radical jihadists hijacked 4 airliners to perpetrate the worst act of terrorism in American history,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). “Today, 20 years later, we remember the horror and pain suffered by those who were murdered, 147 from Monmouth County alone, and the anguish felt by their families and friends both then and now. Who can forget the courageous first responders running up the stairs of the burning buildings—with total disregard for their own safety, saving some at the expense of their own lives?”
In addition to the families and residents in attendance, the Board of County Commissioners were joined by Atlantic Watch Pipe and Drum Band, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, the Count Basie Center Gospel Choir, Reverend Garry Koch of St. Benedict Catholic Church and Pastor Chris Durkin of Colts Neck Community Church.
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Mount Mitchill is home to the Monmouth County’s 9/11 Memorial which is a tribute to the 147 men and women who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks. The path leading to the memorial chronicles the events of that day and at the center is the light stone sculpture of any eagle by local artist Franco Minervini. This eagle grasps a beam from the World Trade Center.
At 266 feet, this overlook in Atlantic Highlands sits on the highest natural elevation on the Atlantic seaboard (excluding islands) from Maine to the Yucatan providing beautiful views of Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook Bay, Raritan Bay and the New York skyline. This 12-acre site is also home to Monmouth County’s 9/11 Memorial.
In 2002, the Monmouth County 9/11 Committee formed and began making plans for a fitting tribute to the victims, heroes, and events of September 11th. The group’s first responsibility was to select a memorial to fit into Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook. The 9/11 Committee then embarked on a major fundraising effort to finance the Memorial. By midsummer 2005 the group exceeded its goal by raising $296,000. Continued donations will support the upkeep and maintenance of the Memorial.