WESTFIELD, NJ – Residents gathered at the Westfield September 11th memorial Monday to pay respect to the victims and their families of the attacks that took place 16 years ago.
“Today we stand together as a community to remember and pay tribute to our dearly departed neighbors and to offer our support and comfort to the families who so unjustly lost their loved ones,” said Mayor Andy Skibitsky who served as the Master of Ceremonies for this evening’s service.
Mayor Skibitsky commemorated each Westfield victim by saying their name and offering a few seconds of silence after each individual was announced.
Twelve people from Westfield lost their lives in the attacks: Andrew J. Alameno, David Otey Campbell, Michael A. Davidson, Dean P. Eberling, Stephen Mark Fogel, Thomas Glasser, Leo Russell Keene III, Richard B. Madden, John “Pepe” Salerno, See-Wong Shum, Anthony Starita and Jim Walsh.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, prayers of commemoration were offered to the community from Reverend Michael A. Saporito of St. Helen’s Church and Rabbi Douglas Sagal, senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El.
“When we gather to remember each year, it’s hard to forget all that was lost on that painful day of September 11th 16 years ago,” said Rev. Saporito, who began his reflection with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“’Returning violence for violence multiplies violence adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars,’” he quoted.
“With sadness tonight we recall the joy that they brought into the world,” said Rabbi Sagal. “The voices and faces we’ll never forget. May these precious memories console us.”
Dr. Ted Schlosberg of the N.J. Workshop for the Arts performed a solemn "Taps," which was followed by “God Bless America,” sang by Patti Garnder who led the community in song.
The ceremony concluded with a silent reflection and a show of community support.
“By offering the opportunity for silent reflection, this part of the ceremony allows people to reflect privately but not be alone,”Skibitsky said.