NEW JERSEY — “It seems like, in many respects, many lifetimes ago. And, in other respects, like it was yesterday,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said, reflecting on Sept. 11.
The governor and PIX11’s Dan Mannarino spoke at length, one-on-one, about the day that took nearly 3,000 lives, including a reported 749 from New Jersey.
At the time, Murphy worked for Goldman Sachs and had just arrived in London. He recalled how he found out about the attack.
“Landed in London. Got off the plane. Went right into the office just to look at colleagues across the trading floor staring up at televisions. And I asked one of my colleagues, ‘Haven’t you got anything else better to do here?’ And I looked up and literally the carnage was on television. And that’s how I learned about it. Obviously shocking. Worried about my own family, friends, colleagues,” Murphy said.
The Governor said he immediately tried to get out of London and get back home. He was finally able to fly back on Sept. 15th when New York City area airports reopened.
“The first memory, Dan, is crossing the Verrazano Bridge, coming in from Kennedy Airport, back into Jersey, and looking over on that Saturday with the smoke still billowing up in the sky,” he recalled. “And then that Monday morning coming to work. Eerie. Folks still desperate to find loved ones and colleagues. The air, the haze, the smell.”
Murphy praised the memorials New Jersey has erected.
Mannarino asked the governor what we’ve learned in terms of security in the years since.
“We’ve learned a lot, I mean, as a nation and a state. And you look at all the habits that we now have that we think of, that are second nature. What we do before we get on a plane…We put an enormous amount of resources into doing everything we can to protect the 9.3 million folks who call this great state their own.”
Murphy and his family live in Middletown, New Jersey. The town lost 37 residents in the attacks, more than any other place outside of New York City.
“We can never, ever, ever forget the precious lives lived, and lost, on that day,” the governor said.