As we honor those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, those of us in the Garden State should reserve special rememberance for the 692 New Jerseyans who died that day.
In 2001, 9/11 was the second leading cause of death for New Jerseyans between the ages of 25 and 44. The World Trade Center attack took the lives of 674 New Jerseyans, while 17 of those who died in Pennsylvania lived in New Jersey and one New Jerseyan died in the Pentagon attack.
Among the 692 deaths, 80 percent were under the age of 50; 82 percent were male; 87 percent were white, 9 percent were Asian, and 4 percent were black. Six percent were Hispanic, regardless of race.
More than 50 percent of the New Jersey victims lived in Bergen, Hudson and Monmouth counties, but 18 of New Jersey’s counties — most in the northern part of the state — saw at least one of its residents die in the attack. Thus, although this was a national tragedy, the regional nature of the loss of life meant that most New Jerseyans were personally affected by the attacks.
New Jerseyans had an unusually large impact on the aftermath as well. The four widows who became known as the “Jersey Girls” forced the Bush administration to create the 9/11 Commission to investigate the attacks. Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean served as chairman of the commission.