LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Township of Livingston recently announced that the Ceremony of Remembrance will take place at the 9-11 Living Memorial Garden in honor of the residents that lost their lives in the terrorist attach at the World Trade Center in 2001: Luke A. Dudek, Jeffery Brian Gardner, Donald Thomas Jones II, Ming-Hao Liu, Joseph P. McDonald, John M. Pocher and Kenneth Albert Zelman.
“While other towns and communities no longer feel the need to remember the lives lost in one of the biggest terrorist attacks on American soil, Livingston does not,” said Mayor Michael Rieber. “This memorial is one of the many things that makes Livingston and its residents so great. We will always honor our own.”
The ceremony will begin with the Livingston Boy Scouts leading in the “pledge of allegiance,” and the Livingston High School Chorus, directed by Joshua Salzman, will then after sing the national anthem. The chorus will also sing “Let There be Peace on Earth,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “God Bless America” during the program.
Following the invocation by Rabbi E. Samuel Klibanoff of Congregation Etz Chaim, Mayor Rieber will explain the meaning of the garden as well as describe a new and extremely important addition to the ceremony.
This year, a program hand-out will include biographies of those whose lives were taken on that tragic day in September 2001. Bunnie Ratner, chairperson of the ceremony realized that although their names were read as well as inscribed on the monument, it did not really tell who these men were.
“These seven loved ones are so much more than just a list of names. Once you know who they were, you will truly understand the depth of the loss that was and is still felt and why Livingston conducts this Ceremony of Remembrance each and every year,” said Ratner.
A poem will also be read by Township Manager Michele Mead, who will also read a brief passage from each biography. Then, Brian Boyle, Vietnam veteran will toll a bell in honor of each man lost while Livingston Girl Scouts place white roses on the Garden’s center monument; a steel beam from Ground Zero that supports a sundial and plaques marking the times and locations of the four terrorist attacks. Also, beneath the monument is “sacred soil” removed from the WTC site.
The Township will invite family members and other guests to share their thoughts, and after the benediction by Reverend Thomas P. Nydegger of St. Philomena’s Church, Tim Griffin and his daughter Gabrielle will play taps.
The ceremony will conclude with the audience being requested to stand and join the chorus in singing “God Bless America”.
Ratner expressed that this ceremony is like the garden itself, “It’s welcoming, it’s sincere, it’s beautiful and it’s heartwarming. It is a time to reflect on the past and, by having youthful participants for much of the program, it offers hope for the future.”
Parking will be available at St. Philomena’s Church. For more information, contact Liliana Branquinho at (973) 535-7925 ext 260 or lbranquinho@Livingstnnj.org.