PROSPECT PARK, NJ - Prospect Park commemorated the victims of the September 11 attacks and honored their first responders in a candlelight ceremony Friday evening. The borough council and Mayor Mohamed Khairullah were joined by Prospect Park residents, police, fire, and emergency services, along with Surrogate Bernice Toledo and Senator Nellie Pou who spoke during the ceremony. Other special guests included Commissioner Emmanuel Capers of the Paterson Board of Education, Haledon Councilman Michael Johnson, and Anthony Matias from the Good Shepherd Christian Reformed Church
The flag salute was led by the Prospect Park Police Department's Officer Gregory Williams. The national anthem was sung by Audrey Grier from the New Hope Community Ministries and an opening prayer was delivered by Rev. Juan Sarmiento from the Iglesia Pentecostal Church.
The ceremony's remarks were presented by Mayor Khairullah, followed by a moment of silence to recognize those who had lost their lives nineteen years ago.
"Thank you for having the commitment to continue the memory of the victims who fell during September 11 and never forget," Mayor Khairullah said. "Ladies and gentlemen, we gather again to renew our resolve as a community. A community that is one of thousands that make up our great nation. While not every community experienced the physical wound that communities around New York City, Arlington County Virginia, Stony Creek Township in Pennsylvania felt due to lost souls and destruction of property, we all felt the pain of that wound. Nearly 3,000 souls were lost due an act of hate. But look at us now, look at the entire world, we are facing a pandemic together. In the past six months the entire world has been racing to find a cure for an unseen virus, a virus which can harm us all if we do not combat it together. This gives me hope because hate is also an unseen enemy. It gives me hope in the sense that if we realize love and tolerance are the solution against humanity's unseen enemies. We can come together to heal ourselves. Nothing will make us forget September 11, 2001."
The mayor continued, saying, "Nothing has stuck in my mind, and probably yours, like that moment of impact when we received news of the terrorist attacks. We will never forget, but we can heal. We can unite together in the face of hate and intolerance. It gives me hope that our small community, one of over 19,000 in our great nation, can be a great example of how we can live together, side by side, in peace and harmony. If there is any lesson that I can summarize for you today, it is that whenever we see humanity coming together for a common cause, great things will happen from our collective efforts. Let all of our efforts pour into a sea of love, tolerance, and healing, so we can build a better future and a better world for the generations that come after us."
The mayor asked for a moment of silence as the fire department siren was sounded.
Dr. Mohammad Quatanani, Imam from the Islamic Center of Passaic County, offered a prayer and Mark Everett read "A Fireman's Prayer" written by A.W. "Smokey" Linn in 1958.
When I am called to duty, God
whenever flames may rage,
Give me the strength to save some life
Whatever be its age.
Help me to embrace a little child
Before it’s too late,
Or some older person
from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling
and give the best in me,
To guard my neighbor
And protect his property.
And if according to Your will
I have to lose my life,
Please bless with Your protecting hand
My children and my wife
Pastor A.J. Santino from the Unity Christian Reformed Church took the podium following guest remarks to deliver a closing benediction. With this portion of the ceremony complete, candles were lit and distributed among those gathered for a "freedom walk" along 10th Street.
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