We will always remember September 11, 2001, and this hilltop will forever have special meaning for the thousands who made their way to Essex County Eagle Rock Reservation to watch the shocking events unfolding at the World Trade Center. – Essex County Eagle Rock 9/11 Memorial
My husband and I lived in New Jersey in 2001 and were vacationing upstate at Lake George NY on 9/11. When we got home we drove over to Eagle Rock Reservation to look at the city. The Reservation had long been known for its panoramic view of the NYC skyline.
On 9/11 it was a magnet for New Jerseyans who watched and waited for family members who never came home, and later to wait for first responders, counselors, therapists to return after shifts of helping in the city. For weeks after 9/11 the skyline was a horrific dramatic reminder of the attack on the World Trade Center. Smoke rose in columns above where the Trade Center had been. The wall along the park view was laden with flags, photos, cards and candles. Day and night people came to witness, holding onto each other, faces wet with tears.
We went there more than once. Like other traumatic events, hours of sleep where night changed to the next day, played tricks on me. I’d wake up a day in late September or October or November and think, “Did it really happen?” Drive over to the park,. “Yes, it happened.” To stand along the stone wall to pray and maybe hug a stranger who was not really a stranger.
Today the 9/11 Memorial in the Eagle Rock Reservation is a tribute to those who lost their lives in NYC. Each name is engraved along the wall and there is a large open book with the names of those from Essex County NJ.
Each time we go back East to visit family or friends in NJ, we go back to the Memorial to remember.
Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she’s writing to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it, and sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling Tucson Tellers of Tales, and anywhere there’s a Zoom mic.