In less than two weeks, the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks will come to pass. To help honor the memory of those lost, Oceanport plans to build a new memorial using steel from the World Trade Center.
One Oceanport man, James Straine, was a victim of the World Trade Center attack, but the memorial will be a tribute to all those who died.
“First and foremost we lost one of our own residents James Straine,” Oceanport Councilman Will Johnson told Patch. “Second, I think anybody in this immediate area was affected by that day. Third, we had a number of first responders report directly to the scene that day and the following days and also had a large number of first responders standing by locally.”
The location of the memorial has not yet been determined, but Johnson — the council's planning and development chairman as well as the liaison to public works and engineering — said that it would be decided at the next council meeting on Thursday, Sept. 6.
So far there is no deadline for the project. However, the memorial has already been designed — a collaborative project that included government members, the borough engineer and members of the public who knew Straine.
The memorial design consists of a piece of steel from the World Trade Center measuring 2.5 feet by 1.5 feet that will be located in front of two 3-foot tall granite replicas of the Twin Towers.
This is not the first 9/11 memorial in Oceanport. A simple stone saying “In Memory of Those Who Lost Their Lives On September 11, 2001” is located in Old Wharf Park at East Main Street and Oceanport Avenue — a place where Straine liked to go fishing, Johnson said.
The Oceanport Garden Club also donated a small 9/11 memorial to the borough, which now sits outside of Borough Hall.
Nevertheless, the town has wanted to build a larger memorial for more than a decade. It was determined soon after Ground Zero cleanup efforts began that steel from the towers would be recycled for use in memorials across the country, but certain procedures had to be followed.
“We applied for an artifact shortly after 2001 and were turned down for various reasons,” Johnson said. “We reapplied again for the 10th anniversary, and with the help of former Tinton Falls Councilman Brendan Tobin were successful in obtaining the steel.
“I believe this memorial will be a nice tribute to the Straine family and to all the local first responders who responded that day,” Johnson said.