WARREN, NJ - On a blue-skied day much like the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the Warren Township community gathered to remember those lost 15 years ago, including Warren residents: Keith Coleman, Brian Dale, Hashmukhrai Parmar and Sheryl Rosenbaum.
Warren Township Committee members Mick Marion and Carolann Garafola joined Mayor George Lazo, members of the Warren Township police, fire and rescue squad and Warren residents at Warren's annual Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony where our Lady of the Mount Pastor Father Sean W. Kenney delivered the invocation.
Nine Warren children lost a parent during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
A message echoed by everyone who spoke recalling lives lost, and sharing their memories, was to vow to "never forget" the dawn of the war on terrorism.
Kenney recalled the Pope's visit to the memorial where he prayed with all faiths. Before the service, Pope Francis was met at the Memorial Plaza by 1,200 members of the 9/11 community including family members of victims, first responders, rescue and recovery workers, survivors of the 1993 and 2001 attacks, and residents of the neighborhood.
The Pope said in part, "Here, amid pain and grief, we also have a palpable sense of the heroic goodness which people are capable of, those hidden reserves of strength from which we can draw. In the depths of pain and suffering, you also witnessed the heights of generosity and service. Hands reached out, lives were given. In a metropolis which might seem impersonal, faceless, lonely, you demonstrated the powerful solidarity born of mutual support, love and self-sacrifice. No one thought about race, nationality, neighborhoods, religion or politics. It was all about solidarity, meeting immediate needs, brotherhood. It was about being brothers and sisters. New York City firemen walked into the crumbling towers, with no concern for their own wellbeing. Many succumbed; their sacrifice enabled great numbers to be saved.
This place of death became a place of life too, a place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.
It is a source of great hope that in this place of sorrow and remembrance I can join with leaders representing the many religious traditions which enrich the life of this great city. I trust that our presence together will be a powerful sign of our shared desire to be a force for reconciliation, peace and justice in this community and throughout the world. For all our differences and disagreements, we can live in a world of peace. In opposing every attempt to create a rigid uniformity, we can and must build unity on the basis of our diversity of languages, cultures and religions, and lift our voices against everything which would stand in the way of such unity. Together we are called to say “no” to every attempt to impose uniformity and “yes” to a diversity accepted and reconciled.
This can only happen if we uproot from our hearts all feelings of hatred, vengeance and resentment. We know that that is only possible as a gift from heaven. Here, in this place of remembrance, I would ask everyone together, each in his or her own way, to spend a moment in silence and prayer. Let us implore from on high the gift of commitment to the cause of peace. Peace in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities. Peace in all those places where war never seems to end. Peace for those faces which have known nothing but pain. Peace throughout this world which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all. Simply peace.
In this way, the lives of our dear ones will not be lives which will one day be forgotten. Instead, they will be present whenever we strive to be prophets not of tearing down but of building up, prophets of reconciliation, prophets of peace."
The 9/11 Heroes Memorial, located on the grounds of the Municipal Complex, was designed to commemorate the memory of the Emergency First Responders who perished at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Warren was among many to participate in the Port Authority of New Jersey and New York program, which allowed Municipal entities to request a piece of the World Trade Center.
Receipt of the steel was delayed for approximately two years because it was part of crime scene. The construction of the 9/11 Heroes Memorial was funded and completed with donations from residents and businesses.
As a donation to the Township, a local artist and Carolann's husband, Ralph Garafola, designed the monument, using the thirty foot long I-beam supported between two solid granite pillars.
A granite boulder flanked by an additional piece of steel rests at the foot of the pillars memorializing the disaster with the date September 11, 2001; the number of heroes who perished; New York Fire Department-343, New York Police Department-23, Port Authority Police Department-37, and Emergency Medical Services-8, and the words, “We Will Never Forget”.
“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge -- huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.” - U.S. President George W. Bush.