After 13 years, the symbolism behind the date 9/11 still resonates with Americans and the remembrance of innocent souls lost during the traumatic collapse of the Twin Towers was on full display in West New York yesterday.
By Katherine Guest/Hudson County View
“I know for all of us here today – and in fact for all Americans – 13 years ago on this very day, our lives were forever changed,” said West New York Mayor Felix Roque during the town’s 11th Annual Memorial Service.
The first plane crashed at 8:46am, which was a few minutes before the memorial service promptly began after bagpipers and drummers from the Bayonne Police Department introduced the ceremony in Donnelly Park near 60th St. and Boulevard East.
“September 11, 2001 is the day we’ll always remember where we were. We experienced this day as a city, a state, and a nation,” said Mark Flores, a captain of the West New York Police Department, who deviated from the program to lead a moment of silence to pay tribute to the lives lost during the series of terroist attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The attacks caused the deaths of 3,000 victims including 249 New Jersey residents—three being from West New York whose names were read aloud: 60-year-old William Joseph Cashman, who was aboard United Flight 93, 39-year-old Michael Paris Colbert and 28-year-old Paul Robert Eckna.
“Like many towns across the U.S., West New York, my town since 1969, lost several of its own that day, including one of WNY’s finest who lost his father, also a law enforcement officer,” said Patrick R. Cullen, Jr., Sgt. First Class (retired), also board of education candidate in the November 4 election.
Preceding the ceremony, members of the Memorial High School Band played an orchestral version of the Star Spangled Banner.
West New York police officers, the board of commissioners, members of the United States Navy, local EMTs and the North Hudson Regional Fire Department were all present for the ceremony.
In honor of Port Authority’s serviceman and New York Police Officers who lost their lives during the horrific event, two flags were raised.
Leonal A. Breau, a West New York Police Officer who was deployed oversea for 461 days—after five consecutive deploments prior— was also recognized during the ceremony.
“While 9/11 ceremonies allow us to reflect on the pain, uncertainty and anguish of these attacks on our nation, that could never be forgotten,” said Roque.
“We must equally recall the immutable valor, duty, loyalty, self-sacrifice, love, and kindness of the human spirit.”