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Governor pays tribute to lives lost during North Brunswick’s Sept. 11 ceremony

Gov. Phil Murphy offers words of solace during North Brunswick's Sept. 11 ceremony.

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Governor Phil Murphy said he has visited North Brunswick on many occasions, but the night of Sept. 11, 2019, was “the most solemn and memorable visit I’ve had.”

Speaking before a crowd of hundreds at the North Brunswick Sept. 11 Memorial on Hermann Road, Murphy said, “It is incumbent upon all of us that we continue our work honoring all those we honor today.”

He mentioned how so many feared for the lives of their friends and loved ones after the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001.

He said many students now are too young to remember, or were born after 2001, and “never viewed the silhouette of the magnificent building that beam of this memorial came from,” he said as he acknowledged steel from the World Trade Center that is the centerpiece of the Sept. 11 monument.

Having began his day at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, Murphy said, “While we all have different personal stories we are all contributing to the larger story” of New Jersey and of America.

“We gather this evening united, remembering the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Lou Ann Benson, director of the North Brunswick Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, who is also a member of the North Brunswick Sept. 11 Committee.

The Rev. Mark McGrath asked for a moment of silence to remember the lives lost on that day and in the aftermath, as well as for the workers who have succumbed to illness over the years.

He asked for a renewed commitment to love and respect of all, despite economic status, religious affiliation, nationality or orientation.

Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack then read a proclamation from the governor, designating Sept. 11, 2019, as Patriot Day, a national day of remembrance and service, and a day of reflection upon America’s tradition of freedom.

“We remain in awe of the many heroic feats of that day,” Womack said. “We are here because we know our resolve must remain strong.”

He said that members of the Armed Services were just babies or toddlers in 2001; township police officers were students in elementary and middle school; members of the command staff were in high school. He called the past 18 years since 2001 “a long struggle” and thanked members of the police department who are also military veterans.

Murphy and Womack then congratulated the winners of this year’s Sept. 11 Art Contest: Daniella George, a second grader at John Adams Elementary School; Joseph Manochio, an eighth grader at Linwood Middle School; and Shivam Nangia, a tenth grader at North Brunswick Township High School.

For the closing invocation, Rabbi Mendy Carlebach of the Chabad of North and South Brunswick paid tribute to the six North Brunswick residents who were killed on Sept. 11, and asked for strength and courage to remember them and keep that day sacred.

“We see separate individuals come together as one, representing the unified community North Brunswick is,” he said.

Carlebach said in the Jewish religion the number 18 is chai, which means life.

“One who has saved one life has saved the entire world,” he said, asking this 18th anniversary to have meaning in life and to inspire others with good deeds that emulate the heroes of Sept. 11.

“When we leave, please let our actions show our unity of our community,” Benson said.

The evening’s ceremony also included the North Brunswick Police Department, Fire Department, First Aid and Rescue Squad and the police Honor Guard; music by the Vocal Tech, Honors Ensemble and Band from North Brunswick Township High School; the placing of a wreath by members of the North Brunswick Sept. 11 Committee; the playing of “Taps” by Jose Carrasquillo; and the placing of flowers at the memorial by members of the community.

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@newspapermediagroup.com.

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