18 Yrs Ago: Montgomery Remembers 9-11-01

18 Yrs Ago: Montgomery Remembers 9-11-01

Posted on September 11, 2019

On the 18th anniversary, Montgomery honored the lives tragically lost, the families and friends forever changed, and the bravery shown in response to the attacks on September 11, 2001.  The somber Patriots Day event was held at the 9-11 Memorial in Montgomery Veterans Memorial Park. The focus was upon reminding youth to “Never Forget.”

Civic leaders, Police, Fire and EMS volunteers, residents, and Montgomery high school administrators, teachers and students (many of whom are first responders) were among those sharing quiet reflections.


The Memorial plaza, established in 2002 and revitalized in 2017, includes a flag (flown at half-mast), a granite slab from the World Trade Center, benches for reflection, and a plaque which reads:

In Remembrance of the Victims of the attack on the United States of America, September 11, 2001, In Compassion for families and friends, In Support for those who defend our Freedom, We Stand United, May Peace Abide, God Bless America.

A table next to the Memorial displayed publications describing the day and its aftermath, alongside the obituaries of three Montgomery residents and one Rocky Hill resident killed in the 9-11 attacks – Brian Thomas Cummins, Steven Goldstein, Phillip L. Parker, and William F. Fallon. The memorial is open daily from dawn to dusk for quiet reflection. A second observance was held the same evening.

The Montgomery 9-11 Memorial. Pictured (L to R) are: Rec. Dir. Karen Zimmerman, Mayor Sadaf Jaffer & Veterans Committee’s Mike Maloney.

A brief formal presentation was held.  Speakers included MVM Committee’s Mike Maloney, Montgomery High School Principal Paul Popadiuk, MHS Vice-Principal Scott Pachuta, and Student Council Present Clare Fitzgerald, a senior at Montgomery High School.  Also sharing reflections were Buz Fried, Montgomery Emergency Medical Technician; Johanna Snedecker, Montgomery EMS Cadet Leader; EMS Volunteer and Retired Brig. General Michael Cunniff, former leader of the NJ Army and Air Force National Guard; Twp. Administrator Donato Nieman; and Recreation Director Karen Zimmerman.  Many spoke of the bravery of first responders in the face of such horrific tragedy.  Others spoke about the public response to the event and the outpouring of concern, empathy and good will.  Some simply shared where they were and what they were doing and how they will never forget.

In her remarks Clare Fitzgerald referred to the high school class of 2020 as ‘last generation’ – her grade being the last with students who were alive 9-11-01, if only by months or days.  She shared how what she and her classmates have learned will help them to always remember to honor the lives lost and respect and strive to emulate the bravery shown. She was greeted by Mayor Sadaf Jaffer, who recalled being a student at Georgetown University in 2001 and how the shocking Pentagon attack impacted Washington D.C.

Moments of silence were held at the two times –  8:46 AM – when American Airlines Flight 11 hit North Tower Floors 93-99, and 9:03 AM – when United Airlines Flight 175 hit South Tower Floors 75-85.  The siren of a nearby fire company could be heard each time in the distance.  MHS Band Director Michael Brennan played Taps on trumpet at both times.

It is only since its refurbishment in 2017 that educational events have been held at the Memorial by the Veterans Committee. The original 911 Memorial Area was created in 2002 – spearheaded by resident Huguette Castaneda – and dedicated on September 11th of that year.  Mike Maloney, an ex-Marine and member of Montgomery’s Veterans Memorial Committee led the volunteer effort to refurbish and re-landscape the Memorial in 2016-17.  He personally gave many hours of time, led other volunteers in the work, and arranged for donations of materials from E.P. Henry through their ‘Heroscape’ program.  See: https://landscapemarshal.us/services-4/

There is also another 9-11 Memorial in town, built by the members of Montgomery Volunteer Fire Company #2 (Blawenburg) at their firehouse at 529 Rt. 518. It was built around a piece of trade tower steel. This Memorial is also open to the public from dawn to dusk for quiet reflection. Of the 2,977 victims killed in the September 11 attacks, 412 were emergency workers in New York City who responded to the World Trade Center.

The 9-11 Memorial plaza is also available daily during park hours to any respectful visitors.  This event, Veterans Day event (11-11-19 @ 4:30 PM), Memorial Day, and all events held at the Montgomery Veterans Memorial are organized by the Montgomery Veterans Memorial Committee. More at montgomeryveteransmemorial.org