ROSELLE, NJ — Mayor Christine Dansereau and the Council of Roselle invites the public and Roselle residents to the 911 Remembrance Ceremony on Sept. 11 at Borough Hall.
The ceremony begins at 8:15 a.m. and will run until 9:15 a.m. It will include a pictorial display presented by Roselle resident Juan Sierra, who was a Ground Zero volunteer after the attack in New York City. Sierra took hundreds of digital photos while on site showing the aftermath of the attack as well as the level of camaraderie and brotherhood that formed as a result of the terrorist attack.
Sierra, who is a member of Roselle’s OEM, will be presenting Mayor Dansereau with a portion of the Banner that was stretched around Ellis Island several months after the attack. On display will be 70 to 100 pictures taken by Sierra at Ground Zero as well as a display showing before and after pictures of the World Trade Center. According to Father Chris, the bells of Saint Joseph’s Church will ring at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m. in remembrance along with other churches in Roselle.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Sierra was living in Park Slope in Brooklyn and working as a carpenter. As New York and America was coming under attack, Sierra was breaking up a fight between two carpenters on a job site when he received a call from his wife, informing him that the towers were falling. His Nextel phone was one of the few phones still receiving a cell signal and Sierra found himself in the role of middleman explaining the disaster taking place to a group of people surrounding him.
“Time seemed to stop on Chelsea Pier as the enormity of the event unfolded,” said Sierra.
The Sierra family also lost a family member that day. Mrs. Sierra’s cousin, Benjamin Suarez (pictured) of Ladder Company 21 perished that day along with the entire 21 squad.
Sierra knew immediately that he was needed on scene and at 6 a.m. the morning of Sept. 12 he became one of many volunteers who reported to One Police Plaza to aid in search and rescue and clean-up. He joined a group of Staten Island firefighters for hands-on work at the sacred ground of the WTC. Sierra was on hand when the sole survivor of the collapse, Jamilla Guzman, was pulled from the rubble after being pinned under a stairwell in the North Tower for over 24 hours. Sierra reassured her that she was a survivor for a reason and helped to console the woman who was in shock and badly battered.
Sierra commented that he "was in war right in his backyard. Many people came to lend assistance but were unable to stay due to what they were witnessing and the brutal reality of the attack.”
Shortly after his participation at Ground Zero Sierra was struck by a massive Upper Respiratory Lung Infection that required aggressive detoxification for the elements he was exposed to at Ground Zero.
“The event’s that transpired that day in an attempt to separate us only served to unite us and make us stronger. People came together and were united as a family,” said Sierra. “I am proud to share my pictures and experience with the people of Roselle in honor of those lost on September 11th.”