Local communities remember the heroes of 911

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  • PHOTO BY AMY SHEWCHUK An American flag hovered over the Sparta ceremony.

  • PHOTO BY AMY SHEWCHUK The Sparta event concluded with the playing of taps.

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF mAHIR kaylani Newton’s annual 9/11 remembramce ceremony was held at the monument on the campus of Sussex County Community College.


The weather was gray and the mood somber as local residents gathered to mark the anniversary of 9/11.

Sparta Elks Lodge 2356 held a remembrance service on Tuesday, the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attack.

New Jersey State Elks Association trustee Anthony Alfonso and Sparta Elks Exalted Ruler Jennifer Appaluccio led the ceremony.

Sparta Kiwanis, VFW Post 7248, police, fire and ambulance squad, Friends and Neighbors of the Sparta Train Station, UNICO, Trout Unlimited, Town Council members with Mayor Josh Hertzberg, Assemblyman Harold Wirths and Senator Steve Orono were all in attendance as well as dozens of townsfolk who came out to remember the lives lost.

Teresa Pedoto sang the Star Spangled Banner, all participated in the Pledge of Allegiance and many were moved by the lyrics of Alan Jackson’s song “Where Were You” which was played in its entirety.

Chief of Police Neil Spidaletto, Fire Department Chaplain Karen Kruzycki, Veteran Stan Tryba and Mayor Hertzberg were among the speakers who shared stories, thoughts and prayers for the First Responders, Victims and their families and also noted the bravery and brotherhood/sisterhood of Americans in times of tragedy.

“Tonight we’ve paid tribute to those who were lost and those who survive the fire and the fate that rained down upon them and the heroes at ground zero who in life and death wear an indelible badge of honor. We celebrate not only them, but all of our fellow Americans for the intended victims of this attack were not just on the planes and at the pentagon and the World Trade Center....the targets were not just the symbols of America but they were the spirits of Americans and the intended victims were all 300 million of us.....but the terrorists who wanted 300 million victims instead got 300 million heroes - 300 million Americans with broken hears and unbreakable hopes for our country and our future,” said Exalted Ruler Appaluccio.

“It is beyond awesome that the Township of Sparta allowed us to hold this ceremony at the municipal building. We created and have been holding this ceremony annually since a week after the attacks on 9/11 in 2001,” said Appaluccio.

The ceremony concluded with a lone trumpet playing “Taps” and a 21-Gun Salute by the American Legion of Newton, followed by the illumination of the Sparta Municipal Building in red, white and blue to honor all American Heroes.

Newton’s annual remembrance event was held at the 9/11 Memorial on the campus of Sussex County Community College.

Said Newton Patrolman Mahir Kaylani, “Sussex County PBA Local #138 has held its 9/11 Memorial Ceremony annually since 2003, it has been coordinated at the 9/11 Memorial at the Sussex County Community College. Today’s ceremony was emceed by Newton Patrolman Ed Sperling. He and I coordinated the event which usually takes approximately two to three months of planning.”

He added, “The ceremony will continue each year to help ensure that we Never Forget. We’re very grateful to the college for hosting the memorial. We thank all our elected officials and everyone else who attended or assisted with today’s ceremony to honor all who have 9/11.”

“This Monument was constructed by the citizens of Sussex County as an everlasting tribute to the memories of those who lost their lives, to serve as a symbol honoring the heroic service and sacrifices unselfishly made on that tragic day and to help us to NEVER FORGET the charity of the thousands of Americans who rushed to the aid of the fallen during the hours, days and months following the attack,” Patrolman Kaylani said.

The Newton VFW Post 5360 performed a 21-gun salute. Local Police, Fire and EMS Departments laid wreaths at the base of the memorial during the ceremony, and area vocalists and bagpipers also brought their special talents to the remembrance ceremony.

The organizers of the event wish to thank: Police Pipes and drums of Morris County, Sussex County government, Newton VFW Post #5360, Sussex County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey,Newton Fire Department and Newton Volunteer First Aid and Rescue Squad.

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