Fourteen years ago today, we awoke to a beautiful azure blue sky. It was clear without a cloud or a foreshadowing of what was soon to come. There were no threats of a storm or of anything else. The mild temperature and light breeze that day filled the air with thoughts of the arrival of fall and all the joys that come with it. Tragically what soon followed on that beautiful peaceful morning changed all of our lives forever. Shocked to our very core, confused, and bewildered, most of us prayed all that horrible day hoping for any sort of news… something…. anything… The world as we knew it and took for granted completely changed forever. We changed forever.
As Mayor, I knew I was responsible for almost 12,000 residents. Our fire department went to Staten Island to cover for the fire company that went into Manhattan. Our rescue squad covered both New Providence and Berkeley Heights when Berkeley Heights went into New York. Our police were extraordinary keeping us calm and as informed as best they could while working tirelessly with families of our missing neighbors. And as the moments ticked away with information that was spotty at best, six cars were left waiting in the parking lot for owners that would never return. Six empty seats were waiting at the dinner table. Six of our families forever devastated. New Providence alone lost six of our own and countless others lost even more. Everyone knew someone who was never coming home.
Today we remember them all: our lost neighbors, our friends, and our families. Today we honor our emergency management teams who help keep us safe: our police, our fire department, and our EMS. Today we reflect and pray that we never experience anything like this again. Today as I do every year on this day, I stop by Centennial Park at our monuments to quietly reflect and invite all of you to join me wherever you are today reading this, to take in a moment of quiet reflection.
God Bless All of You. God Bless New Providence. And God Bless the United States of America.