Over 500 people gathered to mark the 10th year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 in Secaucus at the public library. Around 1 p.m. the town sounded a siren followed by bells as part of a national moment of remembrance.
Residents gathered at the foot of the memorial for the pledge of allegiance, National Anthem, and remarks by Mayor Michael Gonnelli and Assemblyman Vincent Prieto followed by the reading of the names of the six Secaucus victims.
“Our lives will be forever changed but we will move forward together.” – Assemblyman Vincent Prieto
“In memory of today, let us remember that in our cultural diversity, we stand as one people,” said Gonnelli.
“These acts of terrorism did not break our spirit…our lives will be forever changed but we will move forward together, united and stronger than ever,” said Assemblyman Vincent Prieto.
“I’m honored to be here, especially for the 10th anniversary. It’s very special,” said survivor Phyllis Colon. Colon along with fellow Secaucus survivor Linda Raisch-Lopez, read the Pledge of Allegiance. Colon worked at the Port Authority with fellow residents Arlene Babakitis and Nancy Perez who both didn’t make it out of the World Trade Center.
“So many mixed emotions…for survivors, it is hard, you have that guilt,” said Colon. “It is like reliving it all over again.” She said she was proud of the town of Secaucus, Mayor Gonnelli, and Assemblyman Prieto for the wonderful job they did with the 10th anniversary remembrance ceremony.”
“It is very hard. Every day is very hard; it is not easier,” said Maria Marasciulo, sister of Michael Tanner, who perished on Sept. 11. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald in the North Tower. Marasciulo said she hoped families would find peace and happiness.
“Today is an important day every year. I hope this country never forgets and prevents it from happening in the future,” said Rich Warga, president of the Kiwanis Club and resident of six years.
After the memorial ceremony, residents moved into a tent to hear an interdenominational prayer service. Members of the audience became emotional as they watched a video created by Secaucus High School student Kelly Pein that replayed images of the terrorist attacks against the backdrop of Alan Jackson’s song “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”
Family members of the victims were presented with flowers and a special remembrance gift of a framed photograph of the Tribute of Light to the twin towers.
“It took a lot of planning. A lot of people got involved. Everybody appreciated it,” said Gonnelli of the event.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.