Belleville will mark Sept. 11 anniversary Sunday morning

Belleville will pause to mark the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a day when 2,996 people died when our democracy came under attack.

The township will remember its three residents and all those lost on that day at its observance, Sunday, Sept. 11, at 11 a.m. at Belleville’s 9/11 Park at Franklin Avenue and Chestnut Street.

The lives of Antoinette Duger, Harry Ramos and Harvey J. Gardner III will be honored at the park that has become the final resting places for two steel beams salvaged from Ground Zero.

Belleville Mayor Michael Melham, the Township Council and emergency responders gather each year at this spot, marked by a stone marker engraved with a quote from President George W. Bush: “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundation of our biggest buildings. But they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

While it is a time to reflect with heavy hearts, it is also a time to remember how Belleville’s bravest and finest responded to the events unfolding just miles away.

As smoke billowed from the Twin Towers, Belleville’s first responders poured onto fire trucks and dashed toward Manhattan in the hopes of saving lives. Meanwhile, the doctors, nurses and staff at Clara Maass Medical Center stood ready to treat patients as the magnitude of the morning’s events became clear.

“We then watched in horror as one plane hit the Pentagon and another crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania,” Melham said. “We prayed and we looked to each other for strength. Twenty-one years later, that’s what we still do on this day. Together, Belleville will never forget.”

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