New Jersey Remembers 9/11 and Decries Quran Burning

By Brian Thompson
|  Saturday, Sep 11, 2010  |  Updated 12:32 PM EDT
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Images of Sorrow: New York's 9/11 Ceremony at Ground Zero

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A firefighter in an honor guard next to a reflecting pool set up in memory of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks rotates off his post September 11, 2010.

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Just across the Hudson River from Ground Zero, a simple ceremony remembering those lost in the Twin Towers was, as in New York, overshadowed by the twin controversies of Quran burning and where to build a mosque and cultural center.

Sandra Pollio Gidman lost her 45-year-old sister Susan Pollio that day.

As to the Koran and mosque controversies, "That's all about hate, hate toward other people," Gidman said and then added "We're talking about love and remember other people here."

Gidman and her sister Joyce Oxley fought back tears as they threw a flowered wreath into the Hudson River directly across from where a new tower will replace the two that went down that day.

But Port Authority Police Chief Robert Belfiore told more than a hundred people "Terrorism was defeated that day."

He cited "The largest single rescue in the history of the United States" as an estimated 28,000 people were evacuated from the World Trade Center complex and neighboring buildings.

"We did not hide, we did not run, we did our jobs," said Chief Belfiore.

Port Authority police officers stationed in Jersey City rushed to Manhattan on 9/11, as did Jersey City firemen.

One of them, Captain Richard Gordon, who was ranked a firefighter then, was as upset as Sandra Gidman about the Koran burning controversy.

"I believe it's unacceptable to burn the Bible," Gordon said, and then quickly added "And it's unacceptable to burn the Koran. We should have respect and that's what this country is based on."

But when it comes to the Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque planned for a location roughly two blocks away from the WTC site, Fire Director Armando Roman felt it was too close, that it "really casts a shadow on those lives."

Asked to define how far away he thought it should be, Roman said "I can't say a mile or two miles, but not  in the immediate are of hallowed ground."

Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY

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