Middletown Remembers 9/11 With Silent Wreath Laying and Candlelight Tribute

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – On 911 the nation mourns. It's a day of remembering and for thousands of families 911 is a day of thinking 'what could have been'. Every life tragically taken by 911, brutally robbed a family and future generations forever. The town of Middletown, NJ was hit very hard on 911. Thirty-seven neighbors, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends... Thirty-seven neighbors, loved by so many, did not come home after that tragic day. Middletown, NJ and the entire country was changed forever.   

Every community recognizes 911 differently but most have a special ceremony to remember. Middletown has an exceptionally special event on 911. Last week on September 11th, Middletown Township held a silent wreath laying and candlelight tribute through their World Trade Center Memorial Gardens, located near the Middletown Arts Center, to honor the 37 residents stolen from Middletown in The World Trade Center attack 18 years ago. The Memorial Gardens rest under a canopy of trees and features a landscaped path with benches and a personalized memorial for each of the 37 residents. It is a memorial open to the public year-round to visit and see each of the 37 personalized tributes. It is a very sad walkway that depicts tragedy and loss but it is something very special that shows the respect and beauty of love for the 37 members of the community who are missed forever on earth.

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More than 500 people attended the service, including the family members of  9/11 victims, neighbors, Township Committee members, local dignitaries, representatives from Middletown’s Police and Fire Departments, Office of Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services, as well as contingents from American Legion Posts 338 and 515 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2179, and local Scout groups. 

At sunset everyone bowed their heads in a moment of silence. Mayor Tony Perry and the Middletown Township Committee then led the silent wreath laying ceremony and candlelight walk through the Memorial Gardens. The silence created an opening to feel the deep, loud, tragic void of 37 neighbors. The silence was broken by 37 bell tolls of respect, rung by Fire Chief Steven Schweizer and Deputy Fire Chief Russell W. Mount III. The bell, which was donated by the Port Monmouth Fire Company, was rung in memory of each Middletown resident who perished on September 11, 2001.

“While it is has been 18 years since the tragic events of September 11th, we remember and mourn the lives of so many, especially the 37 Middletown residents we lost," said Mayor Tony Perry.  "We remember the incredible bravery of our first responders, the love and compassion of strangers and the strength of America, united by hope. Our silent tribute allows residents of all ages, and most importantly those who did not witness the horror of that day, that while evil may exist in the world, Americans have and always will rise and unite behind our Nation’s commitment to freedom.”

Residents honored at the Memorial Gardens are as follows:

  • Lorraine D. Antigua
  • Jane S. Beatty
  • Donna Bernaerts-Kearns
  • Alfred J. Braca
  • Ronald M. Breitweiser
  • Patrick J. Buhse
  • Stephen J. Cangialosi
  • Swede Joseph Chevalier
  • Dolores Marie Costa
  • Edward Desimone III
  • Michael Egan
  • David Ferrugio
  • Daniel J. Gallagher
  • John M. Grazioso
  • Felicia Hamilton
  • Patrick A. Hoey
  • Kathleen A. Hunt Casey
  • Brendan Mark Lang
  • Roseanne P. Lang
  • Anna A. Laverty
  • Michael Patrick McDonnell
  • Peter T. Milano
  • Louis J. Minervino
  • Justin John Molisani, Jr.
  • James Thomas Murphy
  • Christopher Newton-Carter
  • Paul R. Nimbley
  • Robert Emmett Parks, Jr.
  • Nicholas P. Pietrunti
  • John M. Pocher
  • Beth Ann Quigley
  • Gregg Reidy
  • Robert Andrew Spencer
  • Dick Stadelberger
  • Kenneth Tietjen
  • Anthony Ventura
  • Rodney James Wotton

September 11th is recognized annually as Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance in Middletown Township by declaration of the Middletown Township Committee. Flag banners are installed annually as a tribute to the September 11th victims. The flag banners hang on telephone poles along Kings Highway, Church Street and Middletown-Lincroft Road. The banners are sponsored by local businesses, organizations and individuals. The flag banner display became part of the Township’s annual 9/11 commemoration in 2011. The project was spearheaded by Deputy Mayor Tony Fiore, who served as Mayor in 2011 and 2012.

The Memorial Gardens were developed by the Middletown WTC Memorial Committee, a group consisting of family members and interested residents. The Memorial Gardens were opened to the public on September 11, 2003. Construction of the memorial was made possible largely through donations. Visitors are welcome at the Middletown WTC Memorial Gardens, located at the Middletown Arts Center at 36 Church Street, from dawn to dusk daily.

The Memorial Gardens continue to be maintained with financial assistance from the Middletown WTC Memorial Gardens Fund in partnership with Middletown Township. Donations for the perpetual maintenance of the Gardens are welcome and appreciated. Donations can be sent to: Middletown WTC Memorial Gardens, c/o Mayor’s Office, Middletown Township, 1 Kings Highway, Middletown, NJ 07748.

Middletown Remembers 9/11