MONTVILLE, NJ – A somber crowd met on Sept. 11 to commemorate the victims of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks at the Freedom Plaza in the Community Park in Montville.
“Here at Freedom Plaza we honor the lives of victims lost to terrorism,” said VFW Post 5481 Commander Ken Hanzl. “We gather here as a place of inspiration to reflect upon the ideals of hope, faith, strength and freedom. These four words are etched in stone around the plaza.
“Today’s speakers will reinforce a connection to these ideals and to our theme, ‘We Will Never Forget.’ We host events like today’s that present a lesson and remind us of what happened. It is something that we can never be allowed to forget.”
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Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney and Hanzl unveiled the new 9/11 memorial which consists of a sculpture of the Twin Towers in the center of Freedom Plaza.
“Freedom Plaza has been adorned with the I-beam to the Twin Towers as you see over there,” Cooney said. “However, the members of VFW Post 5481 and the Township Committee saw a need to further enhance Freedom Plaza for future generations to visualize and understand the magnitude of this day. The community responded in an overwhelming way and raised the funds to purchase and install this monument that we are so grateful to unveil today alongside all of you.”
Guest speakers for the ceremony were members of the Martello family, who lost James Martello on that day.
“My dad lived by the mantra, ‘if it needs to be loved, love it, if it needs to be given, give it, and if it needs to be done, do it,’” said son James Martello, Jr. “My family and I take pride in living our lives this way, in honor of my dad.”
“My dad was a big guy, and the only thing bigger than him was his heart, his willingness to give, and his spirit,” said his younger son Thomas Martello. “I wanted to share with everyone a quote from the Bible, which is, ‘Let light shine out of the darkness.’ I thought this quote was perfect for today and for the revealing of this sculpture, because out of the destruction of 9/11, came this beautiful sculpture today. And even 22 years later today, we live in a world with a lot of darkness, and everyone has their own hardships and despair that they go through. But remember this quote, and remember this sculpture, and be the light that shines through the darkness every day.”
“September 11th, yeah, it was dark,” said James Martello’s wife, Sheila. “But I can stand before you today and say that it’s not always dark for us. We have two responsibilities when we grieve someone. One, is to never let them be forgotten. And we don’t. The other is to live a full life again. And we do.”
Nick Sisco sang “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”
Police Chief Andrew Caggiano, Judy Caggiano of the Montville Township First Aid Squad, and Carl Lewis of the Montville Fire Department placed wreaths at the memorial.
Hanzl and Township Committee Member June Witty read the names of those lost from Montville Township.
12-21-88 Pan Am Flight 103, Lockerbie, Scotland
John P. Flynn (JP), William Giebler, Jr.
9-11-01 World Trade Center
Gayle R. Green, Thomas V. Linehan, James Martello, James Romito, Paul Skrzypek, Dennis Taormina
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