More than a decade after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 took the lives of two Verona residents, the community gathered as it has every year for a moment of silence and remembrance ceremony.
Verona Mayor Bob Manley addressed those assembled near the township’s memorial in the Verona Civic Center just before 9 a.m.
Manley said it is fitting to come together and mourn the loss of the more than 3,000 people who died, including Verona's William "Bill" Erwin and Stephen Roach. He said Erwin's son, Brendan, who was 3-months-old when his father died, was in New York City Wednesday morning reading his father's name at the World Trade Center memorial.
Manley also urged the community to honor the many heroes of Sept. 11.
“Today let us also celebrate how ordinary people going about their ordinary lives on what started out as an ordinary Tuesday morning reacted to an extraordinary event with extraordinary heroism when without warning they were put face to face with pure terror and made a conscious choice to respond with selfless heroism,” Manley said.
Fr. Michael Hanly of Our Lady of the Lake led a prayer with dozens of students from OLL’s elementary school in attendance.
Hanly also read four short prayers written by children. One prayer by Kate, 12, says, “I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made the other evening. That was cool.” Another by Nora, 11, says, “I don’t ever feel alone since I found out about you.”
Several other members of the community participated in the ceremony, which included a moment of silence and a candle lighting. H.B. Whitehorne Middle School seventh grader Brooke Coney sang the National Anthem, and Jenna Tamburello, a 2008 Verona High School graduate, sang “God Bless America.”
A closing prayer was led by Congregation Beth Ahm’s Rabbi Mark Biller.