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Thousands Dedicate 'Empty Sky' Memorial For NJ 9/11 Victims

JERSEY CITY, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New Jersey honored its residents who died on 9/11 with the unveiling of a monument Saturday in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City waterfront.

Thousands gathered at the ceremony to honor the more than 700 people who perished on Sept. 11th. They were joined by several state officials and lawmakers, including Gov. Chris Christie and five former state governors.

LISTEN: WCBS 880's Monica Miller reports


The ceremony was also to dedicate the "Empty Sky'' memorial, named after a Bruce Springsteen song, and designed to look like the World Trade Center towers lying on their side.

Empty Sky memorial
The name of each New Jersey 9/11 victim is etched in the stainless steel of the "Empty Sky'' memorial at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

The structure is composed of two 30-foot-high rectangular towers that stretch 208 feet, 10 inches long, the exact width of the Towers.

Designed by architects Jessica Jamroz and Frederic Schwarz, the memorial's towers are sunk into a berm and divided by a granite walkway that faces on a line to the World Trade Center site across the Hudson River, in lower Manhattan.

The name of each of the 746 victims from New Jersey is etched in the stainless steel in 4-inch-high letters.

Joan Tino of West Caldwell lost her 29-year-old daughter Jennifer in the attacks.

"She was leaving, I heard the door close, and it was funny, like I never heard it close before, knowing it was the last time," she told CBS 2's Ann Mercogliano at the ceremony. "What can I say? She was everything."

Ten-year-old William Cunningham came to see his father's s name.

"It hurts that I can't see him in person, but I can see his name whenever I come here," he told Mercogliano.

Speaking at the ceremony, Christie said the memorial is long overdue.

"It was clear to me that this was something that needed to be done by today as an honor to them, as a place for them to come and to remember starkly and clearly their loved ones," he said.

Christie said people should focus on those who lost loved ones on September 11, not on retribution or vengeance.

"I hope that today and tomorrow and the days and weeks and years to come, that we never ever lose our focus on what today is all about," he said.

He added the memorial acts as an acknowledgement that the lives of the 746 New Jersey victims of 9/11 mattered ten years ago and still matter today.

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