RANDOLPH, NJ - The entrance to the Patriots Path portion of the Randolph trail system received the prestigious recognition of marking the country’s first Trail Blaze along the new September 11th National Memorial Trail.  

“Today we are most proud of the fact that we play a role as a small part of the 1,300 mile national September 11th Memorial Trail,” said Randolph Mayor Christine Carey.  “To have the unveiling of the very first trail blaze in Randolph is a very special honor.”

The hiking and biking trail will link the World Trade Center Memorial in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and the Filght 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.

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“What I find most remarkable about this trail, and some of the other 9-11 memorials I have seen, is that they don't focus on the evil that manifested itself in our world that day,” said Carey.  Instead they inspire us, and focus on the strength and bravery and Resiliency of America”

NJ Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen also was in attendance, along with Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, Randolph Township Council members, county park police, Randolph Police, and members of Randolph VFW Post 7333.

“For those of us in New Jersey, Sept. 11, 2001 still seems just like yesterday,” said Frelinghuysen.  “We don't forget what happened on that day, when so many of our friends and neighbors went to work and never came back. In a world that is so divided, this is something that unifies us all, we will never forget.”

The September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance and the Morris County Park Commission worked together to bring about this Randolph trail section being the first to open.

Russ Nee, Morris County Parks Commissions Superintendent of Trails and member of the board of directors for the National Memorial Trail Alliance, was instrumental in the trails completion.  Nee also had the honor of unwrapping the trail blaze to present it to the group.

“I think this path with aptly named Patriots Path in that what was done that day on all levels was really a symbol for what makes America proud,” said Morris County Parks Commission President Betty Cass-Schmidt.  “We are also proud of the work that Russ Nee has done, and everyone else on the Trails Alliance has done to make this happen.”

“The trail is a 1,300 mile tribute to the 9-11 first responders who perished on September 11, 2001.  Including 63 residents of Morris County among the nearly 3,000 people killed that day,” said Morris County Freeholder Doug Cabana. “It is a true honor for Morris County to be part of this national trail which is a symbol of our resolve to always retain or liberty and freedom.".

Cabana continued, “In addition to linking the three National Memorials, the continuous trail will pass through local landmarks in every state, such as the Morristown National Historic Park here in Morris County.”

Past President of the September 11th Trail Alliance David Brickley, and current president Andy Hamilton also spoke about the efforts to bring this forth.

“We cannot thank you enough for the fantastic efforts made here locally, from your congressman, to the mayor, to your Freeholders, and all the others collectively who helped make this happen,” said Brickley.  “In this crazy time of partisan politics this is the one project I've seen republicans, Democrats, Independents, everybody come together for.”

Hamilton then thanked Brickley for his efforts, stating, “Starting in 2001, David has persevered for almost 16 years to the date. This is a trail that is so emotional, and I want to thank you for all your work.”