RANDOLPH, NJ- The annual "Patriots Day" / September 11 Remembrance Ceremony at the Randolph VFW is always sprinkled with a little extra emotion.  With such close proximity to NYC, it seems everyone living in NJ before or after 9/11 has a personal connection to some degree to someone who was lost that day.

After welcoming everyone and thanking them for attending, VFW Post Commander Scott Montanio introduced Town Council members Lou Nisivoccia, Marie Potter, Joanne Veech, Christine Carey, and Mayor Jim Loveys, along with Township Manager Stephen Mountain.

Montanio then introduced Assemblyman Anthony Bucco Jr., who attends every year.  Bucco first thanked the VFW Post for hosting events like this, “to help make sure we never forget.”

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“Please today take a moment to say a prayer for those civilians we lost that day, for all the first responders we lost, and for all the families that live on with the tragedy that changed their lives,” said Bucco.  “Let’s also take a moment to think about the soldiers here and abroad who protect us day in and day out.”

Mayor Jim Loveys also discussed the tragedy, reflecting on the number of Americans lost that day, citing 749 from NJ, 64 from Morris County, and 4 from Randolph.

Loveys recounted how most people have etched in their heads exactly where they were, who they were with, and what they were doing when the news broke.

“In less than two hours, our lives and our world were changed forever,” said Loveys. “It was our way of life that was attacked, a way of life where hard work and perseverance is rewarded, and where generosity and selflessness is encouraged.  But on this day our country united and hero’s emerged, and the stories of courage are countless.”

Montanio then spoke.  "Nearly two decades have passed since that fateful day,  for most, the memories of what happened that day are still as vivid and painful as they were that day 18 years ago," said Montanio.  "While time might not ever remove that pain, we can find solace in remembering how our nation was united in the days and months after the attack.  The accounts of hope and heroism that emerged from the rubble, inspired us all."

The chaplains prayer was recited by Richard Reck, and Emmerson Crooks sang God Bless America to conclude the ceremony.