SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, led by Freeholder Director Brian D. Levine, held a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of 9/11, a terrorist attack in which 39 Somerset County residents perished, at the county’s memorial clock tower on the corner of Main and Bridge streets.
Visitors lay flowers at Bernards Township memorial
More informally, flowers were laid in and a candle lit, as somber visitors spent some time at Bernards Township's memorial to 9/11 victims reflected on the local lives lost, in many cases leaving behind family members in the township. The memorial is located at Harry Dunham Park off Liberty Corner and Somerville Roads.
Nearby on Church Street, another 9/11 memorial honoring firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice at the World Trade Center that day is erected at the Liberty Corner firehouse.
The History in the Somerset Hills Facebook page listed the names of 21 Somerset Hills residents who were killed in the attack, a section of the county that bore an especially heavy toll of victims.
At the county ceremony, Levine, said, “I am saddened that we have to gather on this occasion, but I am heartened that we take it upon ourselves to remember and pay tribute to the victims of this noxious act." He added, "We also remember those police, firefighters, first aid workers and emergency service professionals who gave their time, their health and their very lives so others may endure.
“Extreme circumstances were driven home to us by the terrible tragedy. Let us all, collectively and individually, go forward and never forget…to remember,” he added.
At 8:46 a.m. – the time when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center – the bell at the top of the nearby historic Somerset County Courthouse tolled five times, marking the beginning of the program.
Speakers included Somerset County Surrogate Frank Bruno, who recounted the events of that fateful morning, state Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16th), Levine and County Clerk Steve Peter, who led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard presented the colors and members of the Somerset County Police Pipes & Drums performed “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.”
Members of the Freeholder Board then read the names of the 39 Somerset County residents killed in the attacks.
Those who perished that day were:
Kermit Anderson, Evan Jay Baron, David O. Campbell, Keith Coleman, John Collins, Brian Dale, Kevin Dennis, Stephen Dimino, William Fallon, Jr., John W. Farrell, Louis Fersini, Jr., Michael Finnegan, Christopher Forsythe, Noel Foster, Steven Genovese, Steven Goldstein, Robert John Halligan, Kevin James Hannaford, John Clinton Hartz, Christopher N. Ingrassia, Allison Horstmann Jones, Stephen Joseph, Alvin Kappelmann, Jr., Ganesh Ladkat, Matthew McDermott, Stacey Sennas McGowan, Philip Parker, Hashmukhrai C. Parmar, Ludwig Picarro, Stephen E. Poulos,,Thomas B. Reinig, Sheryl Rosenbaum, Timothy Patrick Soulas, Craig W. Staub, Ronald G. Tartaro, Lance Tumulty, Honor Elizabeth Wainio, Alison Marie Wildman, Frank Thomas Wisniewski.
Freeholder Deputy Director Patricia L. Walsh and Freeholder Sara Sooy placed a wreath in front of the clock tower, followed by a moment of silence. A second brief bell-tolling concluded the program.
On display at the base of the memorial clock tower, were commemorative rocks that had been painted in 2016 and donated by Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 60151 in Franklin Township. The Somerville Fire Department participated by parking three fire engines, including one from Central Hook & Ladder No. 1 with the American flag on the display, near the memorial clock tower.
From Washington, central New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7th, issued the following statement:
"On this day 18 years ago nearly 3,000 people were taken from us in the September 11th terror attacks. In the 7th district of New Jersey, where so many commute into New York, many of us lost family, friends or neighbors.
"These attacks showed us the worst side of humanity, but we continue to find hope in the bravery of those who responded to the crisis: the police officers, firemen, and first responders who ran into the chaos and stayed for days and months afterwards to ensure our recovery, and our men and women in uniform who took the fight to the terrorists.
"One of my proudest moments this Congress was co-sponsoring and ultimately voting for the permanent authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. It should not have taken 15 years to get done, but this bill will ensure that those who risked everything have the care and support they deserve.
"September 11th changed the world forever. Billions of dollars since then have rightly been spent to secure our nation from foreign terrorist threats, so that we never have to endure that sense of loss again.
"Today the fight continues as we adapt to new threats from extremists both foreign and domestic. I am fighting every day in Congress to make sure our government agencies acknowledge these threats and are fully funded to fight back.
"During our country’s darkest time, we came together as a nation. Let us never lose sight of what unites us."