SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – A small memorial service was held in front of the 9/11 Memorial at the Alan M. Augustine Village Green next to City Hall on Park Avenue on Wednesday evening.
Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover welcomed everyone, including the other members of the council and Assemblywoman Linda Stender, and thanked all the participants, such as the Police, Fire and Emergency Services personnel. He began by remembering all the firefighters, police, and emergency workers who gave their lives trying to save others. “We remember their gallant efforts. . . and all those who did not return home that day. This is just a reminder of how precious life really is and we will never forget.”
Glover then invited Rev. Cynthia Cochran-Carney, pastor of Willow Grove Presbyterian Church and head of the Ministirium to come forward and offer up a prayer. Then Cantor Matthew Axelrod sang a hymn.
Glover then called previous Mayor Nancy Malool to the podium. “I asked Mayor Malool to speak this evening because she was the force behind making this memorial a reality.”
Nancy Malool began her remarks by thanking everyone who had participated in the planning and building of the 9/11 Memorial. “When I was writing this speech, after I thanked everyone, I was not sure what else I was going to say.”
“Some say it’s time to move on, that memorials such as this should not continue. This beautiful monument is only two years old, but it seems to be a place to sit and listen to concerts and a place to walk the dog. However, everyone remembers where they were when they got the news. I was dropping off my daughter to kindergarten, now she is a senior in High School. Our lives have gone on, but for thousands of people, life ended.”
“For some people, 12 years ago seems like yesterday. That’s why we need to come here once a year, to remember them. It’s not important what we say or what we do, it’s just important that we are here, so that the thousands of lives are remembered and people are reminded that this is not just a bunch of rocks and marble, but that it stands for something, for the people who were lost that day. . .This tragedy struck close to home, both figuratively and literally. We all knew someone who was lost that day. Moving on, losing interest and treating this like just another monument cannot be an option – it is not acceptable. No matter what we do on this day, it is important that we come here.”
After a moment of silence in honor of the fallen, Rabbi Nudell, of Congregation Beth Israel came to the podium for another song and prayer.
Glover then called for the family members of the fallen, Matthew Horning, Mark Rothenberg and James Walsh to come forward and lay flowers on the memorial.
Without further fanfare, the short service was over and members of the audience drifted up toward the monument, to walk by in silence, look at the piece of metal from the World Trade Center, read the plaques and quietly remember.