LIVINGSTON, NJ - Livingston residents and elected officials came together on Tuesday evening for a Ceremony of Remembrance for September 11th, held at the 9/11 Living Memorial Garden.
Livingston Mayor Stephen Santola welcomed those who attended and reflected back on past ceremonies and September 11, 2001 itself, stating that Livingston's ceremonies have been “one of the most moving evenings because the whole town came together.”
Santola added that even eleven years later, the September 11 ceremony is very important to Livingston.
“I don’t think Livingston is in any way ready to wind down 9/11 ceremonies. Every single year we have a bigger crowd than the year before,” Santola said.
The mayor then touched upon the Living Memorial Garden. He explained that it has eight sides, seven of which are representing the town’s residents who have passed and the eighth to represent all others.
Township Manager, Michele Meade read a poem entitled “We Remember Them” which signified that no matter what is going on, where we are, or what we are doing, we remember the victims of September 11. Meade then read the names of the Livingston victims while a white rose was placed in the garden by Livingston Girl Scouts, representing each of Livingston's victims of the 9/11 tragedy.
Assemblyman John McKeon recalled the video clips played numerous times on the news showing those who had escaped the World Trade Center on 9/11, covered in dust and debris. Unable to tell what religion, gender, or race, you knew they were Americans, McKeon said.
Former Governor of New Jersey, Richard Codey also spoke at the event and as Santola added, has attended every 9/11 ceremony in Livingston to date. Codey’s message was that September 11 was life changing and “we must never forget.”
“Let us always remember our history and let us always remember the great country we live in,” Codey said.
Barry Zelman, brother of victim, Kenneth Zelman, spoke of the questions he continues to ponder about September 11.
“I want to know why my brother died,” Barry said. “I want to be able to tell him (Kenny) I know what happened. I am a brother who wants to fight and stand up for his brother.”
The night also included prayers from Rabbi Clifford Kulwin of Temple B’nai Abraham and Father Brian Needles of St. Philomena Church.
The Livingston High School Vocal Chamber Chorus performed throughout the night singing the "National Anthem", "Let There Be Peace on Earth", "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "God Bless America."