GLEN ROCK, NJ - Simple, quick and thoughtfully approached, the 9-11 commemoration in the borough matched the manner in which the monument itself was built.
Approximately 100 people gathered at the Veteran Park 9-11 Monument on Main Street on Friday to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack that killed approximately 3,000 people. All 11 individuals from Glen Rock died at the World Trade Center where two planes loaded with passengers and jet fuel were crashed into the Twin Towers.
Jon Cole, one of the trustees of G.R.A.C.E., Glen Rock Assistance Council & Endowment, the organization founded to build the memorial and assist the families affected by the terrorist attack, emceed the ceremony. He paid homage to his friend and another founder of GRACE, Brad Jordon.
"I realize I've never stood here and talked about him," Cole said. Jordon died suddenly earlier this year.
Cole spoke of his friend and the other trustees that take care of the monument, even 19 years later.
"Brad gave heart to the organization," he said as he choked back emotion.
Mayor Kristine Morieko was up next with brief comments.
"Thank you to GRACE for continuing this important, solemn tradition, even during these uncertain pandemic times," she said.
Morieko recalled where she was on September 11. She lived in Glen Rock and commuted to her office at the World Trade Center.
"I can still picture the Borough Hall train station that evening….the amount of cars still parked, like sentinels, late into the night," she said.
Morieko expressed heartfelt sorrow for the families affected, having known two of them directly.
"David Meyer, the loving father of my elementary school classmate. Sean Caton– the infamous shore house roommate of one of my brothers. Two lives that touched my family," she said. "It is important, it is NECESSARY to remember ALL those lives we lost and to share their stories. Talk about who they were and the light they shined upon this world. It is our duty to preserve their legacy and keep their spirit alive. They were our neighbors, our friends, our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children, and parents. We owe it to the next generation to ensure their stories are not forgotten. We MUST never forget."
Father Mark Collins from All Saints Episcopal Church spoke next, reminding the crowd who stood with masks and socially distanced, that the "only true sin is to live and not learn."
He said "kindness and consideration" are what was needed then and what is needed now during the pandemic.
GRACE trustee Carol Knapp then spoke the names of each of the 11 people that perished that day: "Paul Andrew Acquaviva, Grace Alegre-Cua, Christopher Sean Caton, Anthony Dionisio Jr., Brendan Dolan, Timothy J. Finnerty, Joseph Francis Holland III, Damien Meehan, David Robert Meyer, Richard J. Morgan, Daniel M. Van Laere."