Dedication Ceremony Celebrates Lives of Those Lost
On April 23, 2003 , more than 100 guests gathered among the restored wetlands at the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s Richard W. DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst , New Jersey for the dedication of a memorial honoring those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 . The memorial site is directly across the Hudson River from where the World Trade Centers once stood.
A permanent memorial consisting of a curved deck with two projecting piers that face the Manhattan skyline was constructed along a marsh cove in the park. The piers are patterned after the World Trade Center Towers and surfaced with 110 boards representing the 110 floors of the towers. Where the piers meet the main deck, a porcelain enamel plaque dedicates the site in memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11.
A steel sculptural silhouette of the pre-9/11 skyline dons the deck near the memorial, and visitors may stand in a pair of footprints along the deck walkway and view the towers restored to the skyline.
"The completed project does much more than resolve practical issues for the park; it provides a place for solemn reflection and pays tribute to the memory of those lost on September 11," said Robert Ceberio, Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC).
Susan Bass-Levin, NJMC Chairwoman added, “We can’t put back the World Trade Center , but perhaps with this memorial we can help fill the emptiness of our aching spirits.” /p>
DU was represented at the event by dozens of local volunteers and staff, many who knew people killed September 11.
DU President John A. Tomke and New York State Council Chairman Tom Humberstone gave moving speeches at the ceremony.
Tomke noted, “We’re equally appreciative to be able to dedicate this memorial to all those who tragically lost their lives on September 11, 2001 . Whether they were innocent victims or brave first responders, they taught us the deepest definitions of love and friendship.” Tomke went on to say, “Like all Americans, Ducks Unlimited members were deeply shocked, saddened, and angered on that day. And, like all Americans, we felt like we needed to do something to help us deal with our deep feelings of grief and loss.”
DU’s international leaders unanimously passed a resolution to this effect, which concluded with the message, “Be it resolved that Ducks Unlimited dedicate a regional wetlands project to honor these heroes in perpetuity and that this project serve as a 'conservation monument' to their efforts.
The dedication ceremony was also marked with a moment of reflection by an Emerald Society Piper from the City of New York Fire Department , a ribbon cutting, and a reading of the memorial plaque. The quote on the plaque, from Robert Ingersoll, a 19th Century orator who championed equal rights, reads: “In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.”
Thanks to the tremendous collaborative efforts between DU’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional staff and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, and with generous support from the ADP Foundation of Roseland, New Jersey , the project was completed in a timely manner and has enriched the experience of visiting the park.
The Meadowlands once contained more than 17,000 acres of wetlands, including tidal marsh, Atlantic white cedar swamp, and other productive ecosystems important to wildlife. Over many years, human activities greatly altered the area, leaving it one of the most polluted and exploited areas in the country.
Fortunately, today, thanks to ongoing collaborative conservation initiatives, much progress has been made to restore lost habitat. At least 65 species of birds nest in the Meadowlands, and 250 species of migratory birds have been recorded. DU, NJMC, and other partners have already restored hundreds of acres, but much remains to be done. The NJMC strategic plan seeks to preserve more than 8,000 acres.
Want to see this impressive memorial and wetland?
Visit Richard W. DeKorte Park at 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst , NJ . The environmental center and trails are free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. , Saturday and Sunday. The park is just a short drive from Newark International Airport . For more information: (201) 460-1700; firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for more information on the New Jersey Meadowlands's website
Dedicated by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
This project was made possible by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission in partnership with Ducks Unlimited. Additional funds provided by the National Recreational Trails Program, administered by NJDEP Office of Natural Lands Management.