WATCHUNG, NJ - On a blue-skied day much like the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the Watchung community gathered to remember those lost 16 years ago, including Watchung residents Christopher Ingrassia and Honor Elizabeth Wainio, and unveil "A Journey of the Heart Memorial."
Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, Watchung Borough Council members and Mayor Stephen Pote joined members of the Watchung Borough police, fire and rescue squad and Watchung residents at Watchung's annual Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony where Rev. Barbara Peters delivered the invocation.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Senior Patrol Leader Enzo Ruta and Boy Scout Troop 32 and Watchung residents Alexandra and Danielle Toscano sang the National Anthem. Watchung Rescue Squad members Sarah Wilson and Michael Erickson placed the memorial wreath in front of the new monument.
“I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to work with the borough’s 9/11 Committee as the council liaison," said Councilman Dave Mobus. I’m so very proud of this group and the scores of others who have donated countless hours, labor, materials, equipment, talents, and money to contribute to the construction of our 9/11 Memorial.”
“In the truest sense, I have been witness to a real labor of love. You committee members are wonderful people with boundlessly huge hearts and it has been a privilege for me to have been working directly with you on this project," said Pote.
Bramnick said, "America is about loving your neighbor."
“We remember the impact that this has had on all of us," said Kean. "We remember the strength that we experienced in coming together."
Seth Alexander, who designed the memorial, and Anthony Ingrassia, Chris Ingrassia's brother spoke about Elizabeth and Chris.
The Wainio family was attending a memorial dedication in Shanksville, PA so Alexander spoke about Elizabeth, who had attended a destination wedding in Italy and returned back to Watchung on Sunday Sept. 9. She was scheduled to fly to San Fransisco on the 10th but was really tired from her trip and changed her departure to the 11th.
“I was 10 months old when Chris was born and he was an awesome brother from day one," said Ingrassia.
Valley View Student Council President Shiv Goel read the poem, " Names."
Alexander and Ingrassia together unveiled the memorial.
In closing, the Valley View Ensemble, under the direction of Elizabeth Thompson, played “America the Beautiful," and the crowd sang along.
And Matthew Schaefer and Ryan Branco played Echo TAPs.
Watchung’s 9/11 memorial features a heart-shaped ‘Journey of the Heart’ design incorporating a piece of steel from the World Trade Center that was inlaid in a marble block encompassed by a half circle memorial stone wall mural. The memorial features a plaque dedicated to everyone who died on September 11, 2001, including Watchung residents Christopher N. Ingrassia and Honor Elizabeth Wainio.
The Watchung memorial was designed by Seth Alexander with guidance from the borough’s 9/11 Committee, which includes Andy Baldasarre, Anthony Ingrassia, Don Monetti, Dan Lorimor, Seth Alexander, Sue Tucker, Robert Gibbs, and Councilman, Bill Nehls, Councilman.
The donated brick pathway leading to the memorial is expected to be completed by the spring.