WOOD-RIDGE, NJ -- It was a sunny and warm fall day, much like it was 18 years ago, as Wood-Ridge held a Candlelight Vigil in remembrance of 9/11 on Wednesday night at Veterans Park on Valley Boulevard.

Wood-Ridge Borough Council President Catherine Cassidy welcomed the residents. She had attended the Bergen County rememberance ceremony earlier in the day and explained "the moment the flags were lowered to half staff, a bald eagle was flying over head" and noted what "that symbolizes on a day like today."

Father Richard Mucowski from Our Lady of Assumption Church gave the Invocation, noting that we "remember all that was lost, security, innocence, peace, the belief that we were safe," he prayed that God "grant us the courage so that we may work together to build a world of hope and peace."

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The Girl and Boy Scouts led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. Cassidy called for the Striking of the Four Fives by the Wood-Ridge Fire Department, a custom of rendering final honors to firefighters who died in the line of duty.

Pastor Jim Armpriester said an Offering Prayer. While he recalled the "horrors and evil of that day, compassion reigned as we came together to rebuild," and prayed that people would be "peaceful, kind, gentle, and humble in everything that we do."

Borough children laid a commemorative wreath at the 9/11 monument. Councilman Joseph DiMarco introduced Mayor/Senator Paul Sarlo.

Mayor Paul Sarlo thanked the members of the Borough Council for continuing to support the annual service. He recalled the day after the tragedy at the park, when "people gathered as a community, lit some candles. As far as I could see north and south on Valley Boulevard and up Highland Avenue. People came to share thoughts, talk, and make sense of what occured."

"That will always be etched in my mind," said Sarlo.

Sarlo then introduced Wood-Ridge resident and recently appointed Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella. He noted that "it's important to remember the stories of that day and share them with our children so that they remember as well." He shared his experiences of the day, from calling his wife who was a substiute teacher at Assumption School to trying to reach his brother who worked in lower at Morgan Stanley in lower Manhattan. He finally reached his brother after he had returned to New Jersey, walking through the Lincoln Tunnel covered in soot. He also recalled reconnecting with a friend earlier in the summer who had just started a job at Marsh McClellan in Tower 1.

Sarlo acknowledged the dignitaries in attendance, including members of VFW Post 3616 and Ladies Auxilliary, American Legion Post 97, Wood-Ridge Fire Department and EMS, Wood-Ridge Police Department and Auxiliary, DPW, OEM and Shade Tree Committee, community groups Knights of Columbus, Lions and Girl and Boy Scouts. 

He also said that residents should also remember the Garrett and Wodenshek family and Caviasco-DePalma family, who lost family members on that day, and encouraged people to "remember and say a prayer for these families tonight."

The Benediction was given by Father Jacob Philip and Gabriel Valle was joined by residents in the singing of "God Bless America."


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