WOOD-RIDGE, NJ -- It was a sunny fall day as Wood-Ridge held a memorial service in remembrance of 9/11 on Friday night at Veterans Park on Valley Boulevard.
Wood-Ridge Borough Councilman Ezio Altamura welcomed the residents, and called for the Wood-Ridge Fire Department to present the colors to over 100 residents gathered in the park. Mayor Paul Sarlo had a family obligation and regretted his absence, said Altamura.
"We will remember, and we will never forget the nearly 3,000 lives taken from us on September 11, 2001," said Altamura. "Nineteen years later we gather as a community here in Veterans Park, as we did that night on September 11th, many of us remember that night."
Father Ronnie Nombre from Our Lady of Assumption Church gave the Invocation, noting "today we remember the people who lost their loved ones, who lost their lives, and we honor those who gave their lives to serve and protect our nation."
The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. Altamura 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 of Transformation Life Church said an Offering Prayer. He said "...we thank you for the peace that you provide for us in our times of suffering. We thank you, God, that you help us to not only remember the difficulties and the horrors and the chaos of the day that we experienced on 9/11. But you also give us the capacity to remember the firefighters and the first responders and the policeman and all those that came together so courageously to save those who were entrapped."
Borough children laid a commemorative wreath at the 9/11 monument.
Bergen County Prosecutor and Wood-Ridge residents also addressed the gathering.
"It's been 19 years since that tragic day and it's hard to believe that all this time has passed," he said. "That day our country and our world changed forever. You and I remember that blue sky morning, where we were that morning, what we were doing and how we felt as we watched the second plane strike the South Tower. And we all remember the emotions of disbelief of heartache of sadness of loss that day and in the days that followed, and in the weeks that followed."
He said that people should remember always remember the events of that day, those who died, the first responders, those who got sick and have died from 9/11 related illness..."we must always tell their stories."
Musella also thanked the Wood-Ridge Police Department and Wood-Ridge Fire Department and EMS for their ongoing efforts during the pandemic.
Council President Phil Romero acknowledged the dignitaries in attendance, including members of VFW Post 3616 and Ladies Auxiliary, 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.
"It's hard to believe that 19 years has passed since that tragic day that changed our lives forever," said Romero. "I remember clear as day where I was. Like most of us, I started my day going to work, saying goodbye to my wife and kids, and they started their day. Then the unthinkable happened. A plane hit the tower."
"As we look back and remember all the people that lost their lives, and continue to lose their lives from 9/11 related illnesses, we pray for all the families that have suffered and continue to suffer losses."
The Benediction was given by Father Jacob Philip of Church of St. Paul's Resurrection, and Gabriel Valle was joined by residents in the singing of "God Bless America."
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