20th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks Remembered

September 11, 2021

Governor Phil Murphy attended 2021 Commemoration Ceremony for the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks held in New York City with President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama.

A ceremony was held in Jersey City at the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation’s Empty Sky Remembrance Ceremony. See Governor Murphy’s remarks below.

The U.S. Coast Guard held a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, NJ.

A 9/11 ceremony was held at the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs campus in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Remarks by Governor Phil Murphy in Jersey City:

It is truly an honor to join you all for this commemoration. 

I am honored to be among many friends … Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker … from my cabinet, the Adjutant General, Brigadier General Lisa Hou and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette … Mayor Steven Fulop … New York Waterway CEO and Chairman Armand Pohan … Survivor Wendy Lanski … 9/11 Memorial Foundation Chair Faith Miller.

Thank you, as well, to all the performers and units with us.

I will be brief. Not just because I want everyone I just mentioned to have time to share their thoughts, but also because today is not a day for words. 

Today, words give way to reflection and remembrance. Today is a day to renew our commitment to the ideals upon which this country was founded, and which have flourished over more than 200 years – the ideals which were under attack 20 years ago today, liberty and unity.

For every generation, there are moments seared into our collective memory – the events we can recall, without hesitation and with near-perfect clarity, no matter how much time has passed, exactly where we were, and what we were doing.

September 11th is one of these days. 

We feared for friends and loved ones – many who, to our great relief, were safe, including the thousands of precious lives that New York Waterway ferried to safety.

But there are also the 750 New Jerseyans – among the many, many hundreds more – who, to our extreme grief, were lost.

And there are also the towers, removed from the skyline in a matter of hours.

A span of twenty years means that while so many of us were alive to witness the attacks and their aftermath – whether we watched on television, gazed across the Hudson River from this spot, or stood on the streets of lower Manhattan – there is now an entire generation for whom 9/11 is just pictures and words.

They are a generation who never viewed the silhouette of the Twin Towners against a rising sun. They never experienced the rite of so many schoolchildren before them of a class trip to the roof – where it seemed you could touch the sky itself. 

And, hard as it is to believe, twenty years means they are now entering adulthood.

For them, there is a new tower. But, for us, we will always remember the Twin Towers, and empty sky of the night of September 11, 2001.

Faith and the 9/11 Memorial Foundation, along with survivors and their families, are doing tremendous work to ensure that September 11th isn’t ever relegated to textbooks. The Empty Sky memorial is vital to this effort, as are the countless stories we must remember. 

But the work is not theirs alone.

As we commemorate this 20th anniversary, all of us must ensure this and future generations continue to honor all those lost on that day…

…The men and women who went to work, and the families who boarded planes, not knowing what lay ahead.

…The first responders who rushed to help, whether it be the those receiving the wounded here in Jersey City, those rushing into the once-proud towers in New York, those racing to the smoking ruins at the Pentagon, or those called to an open field in the small town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

And we honor the ordinary Americans who showed extraordinary resolve in extraordinary times.

There is a saying, “Time heals all wounds.” Of course, for every saying, there is an exception. Today is certainly one. Time may have dried our collective tears, but time will never erase the names and the stories of those who were lost. 

They will always be in our hearts. Their memories will live within us, and as we look toward the heavens, the sky will never truly be empty.

Governor Phil Murphy ordered that U.S and New Jersey flags be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on Saturday, September 11, 2021, in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 innocent people, of whom nearly 750 were New Jersey residents, that were killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“20 years ago, hundreds of New Jerseyans left home for the last time,” said Governor Murphy. “Their lives were stolen in the September 11th attacks, along with thousands of other innocent men and women. We will never forget those taken from us that day, nor will we forget the sacrifices and efforts of first responders who saved the lives of countless civilians. We must also remember all the members of our armed forces and intelligence agencies who have defended our nation during the last 20 years, including those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Copy of Executive Order #261

On September 9, 2021 at 6:00 p.m., police officers from the Wall Township Police Department attended the September 11th Memorial Service at the Wall Township Municipal Complex.  Also in attendance were Wall Township Volunteer First Responders, Wall Township Committee members and families of 9/11 victims.  During the ceremony, Chief Kenneth Brown Jr. spoke about the police department’s response to Ground Zero.