CLARK, NJ – The crowd gathered quietly around the James A. Nelson Memorial Park on Wednesday morning. They came to remember Nelson, a Port Authority Police Officer and the only Clark resident to have perished during the events of September 11, 2001 along with thousands of others.
A large group assembled including police, firemen, emergency service workers, township employees, government officials, residents and Nelson’s wife Rosanne and daughter Anne.
The event opened with a singing of the National Anthem led by Clark resident Matt Kane, followed by a moment of silence and remembrance.
Mayor Sal Bonaccorso spoke next about his experiences and memories of 9/11 and how Clark came together for their own and in service to their fellow first responders in New York. “As mayor of this town I saw the great people of this community come together,” he said. “Not only for Rosanne and her family in memory of Jim, but for our nation. I was very proud of Clark because we are, as I always say, the leading community in this country.”
The mayor then invited community members to share their memories or thoughts. Survivor Ed Ruth watched the Towers come down from the corner of Broadway and Vesey Street. He worked at Marsh and McLennan, a company that lost nearly 300 employees in the attack. Ruth attends Clark’s ceremony every year to share memories and to give attendees an opportunity to reflect. Ruth invited the community to visit a 9/11 exhibit in the Clark Public Library this month too.
Retired police officer Jerry Scaturo was next to address the crowd, sharing painful memories of losing Nelson and trips to ground zero with his wife. Scaturo played the song Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning, by singer Alan Jackson, a song reflecting the 9/11 tragedies.
Anne addressed the crowd and thanked the community for keeping the memory of her father alive through this annual ceremony. Throughout the ceremony Caitlyn Nelson, James’ youngest daughter who died tragically in 2017 was also memorialized by many of the speakers.
Kane closed the ceremony in song and Bonaccorso thanked those that attended for their time and dedication to remembering the people that perished in 9/11.
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