9/11 Remembrance Canceled in New Jersey, No One Tells Families

The New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation called off the ceremony at the Empty Sky Memorial

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013  |  Updated 1:36 PM EDT
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Families of 9/11 victims showed up at a New Jersey memorial for a remembrance on Sunday, but the event had been canceled without anyone letting them know. Jen Maxfield reports.

NBC 4 New York

Families of 9/11 victims showed up at a New Jersey memorial for a remembrance on Sunday, but the event had been canceled without anyone letting them know. Jen Maxfield reports.

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Families of 9/11 victims showed up at a New Jersey memorial for a remembrance on Sunday, but the event had been canceled without anyone letting them know.

Some relatives of victims told NBC 4 New York that about 30 family members arrived at the Empty Sky Memorial in Jersey City, but there weren't any speakers, podiums or chairs. Just an empty park. Organizers had unceremoniously canceled the ceremony just three days prior.

"If it had to be canceled for an emergency reason, I can see that," said Adam Kane, whose brother, Howard, was killed in the attack. "But surely they could get a politician or clergy member to speak because we shouldn't forget what happened."

Howard Kane's family was one of the hundreds that received postcard invitations to the event at the memorial in Liberty State Park. But organizers said a series of setbacks forced them to cancel the event.

"We're really sorry if they went out of their way," said Rick Cahill with the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation. "We appreciate them coming down and we would hope that people would come down without an invitation every September to visit the site."

The site was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, officials said, and repairs weren't complete in time for the service. Organizers were also unable to recruit politicians to speak at the ceremony, and just last week, the memorial's website crashed. Cahill, whose son Scott was killed in the attack, couldn't get the site back up in time to formally cancel.

Board members for the foundation said they'd try harder to recruit more speakers for next year's service. But they said they might have to wait until the 20th anniversary of the attacks in 2021 to get a crowd gathered at the memorial gain.

It's not the first time the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation has had to cancel an event. In the spring, a golf outing fundraiser was called off when not enough people registered.

Shelly Kane, Howard Kane's mother, said she is worried people are forgetting about the attack that killed her son, who was working at Windows on the World that day nearly 11 years ago.

"I hope it's not like Pearl Harbor on the newspapers or the TV where it's not even printed," she said. "To me, it will go down as a day of infamy."

--Jen Maxfield contributed to this story

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