9/11 Stories: Jim McGreevey

On September 11, 2001, Jim McGreevey, Mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey was on the campaign trail, running for Governor. McGreevey won that race and was sworn in as Governor less than 4 months after the worst attack on U.S. soil. On the morning of September 11th, while visiting a senior center in Berkeley Heights, talking to residents about health care, nursing home costs, and Medicaid, a resident burst in, telling everyone about the attack, which was unfolding on live tv. McGreevey raced to his car to drive back up the Garden State Parkway to Woodbridge, knowing his police and fire departments would be organizing to help the New York City rescue and recovery.His first stop was his church, St. James, where McGreevey lit a candle and prayed. He needed to be grounded for whatever came next.

McGreevey says he remembers going to Liberty State Park, which is directly across from New York City with an unobstructed view of the burning Twin Towers. He expected the park would soon be filled with thousands of survivors fleeing the World Trade Center, and envisioned all the boats and ferries bringing them to safe ground. Everyone assumed much of the mass evacuation would end up at Liberty State Park.

State police had set up a huge board for people to post pictures and messages for their loved ones who worked at The World Trade Center or nearby. McGreevey says that big board was one of the most human things he remembers from that day. They waited and waited for the masses who never arrived...who failed to get out...cremated...pulverized in the collapse of the twin towers.