County hosts 9/11 ceremony

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:50

    NEWTON-For the past year, Sussex County's memorial to the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks has been a spot for quiet reflection. On Saturday afternoon, it was the center of activity, drawing more than 200 people who came to commemorate the third anniversary of the fateful event. "This monument can have no better home than here," said Mike Richards, detective sergeant of the Newton Police Department, who represented county law enforcement at the ceremony. The monument, on the green of the Sussex County Community College campus, was the hub of the ceremony, where speeches, songs and patriotic gestures brought together Sussex County residents for a variety of reasons. "It's important for us to come," said Lynn Lappert of Hampton, who brought her 2-year-old daughter, Clara. "She wasn't even born yet, when the towers fell." Steve Andrews of WSUS Radio, one of the speakers, said youth around the county were participating in ceremonies that morning and then going off to play fall sports. "There are 6- and 7-year-olds out there playing flag football today who don't remember (the attacks). That's why we need to keep doing this," he said. County officials plan to hold annual ceremonies at the memorial and keep up fundraising efforts to enhance the memorial. The structure, built with some $45,000 raised privately through donations, includes a steel beam taken from the World Trade Center, brought from the site by Byram Police Officer John Hulse, who helped with recovery efforts. "Each year we'll gather here to reaffirm our spirit of American pride," said Richards, who with Sussex County Freeholder Glen Vetrano spearheaded the effort to build the memorial in time for last year's anniversary. At this year's ceremony, new benches were in place and a new plaque was on display. Vetrano said fundraising will continue for other improvements. On Saturday, five wreaths were placed there by groups representing police, fire, emergency medical squads, the military and civilians. The pledge of allegiance was led by a group of boys who donated money from a lemonade stand. Vetrano said earlier in the day a High Point Corvette club made a donation from proceeds from a car show. Keynote speaker Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News Senior Judicial analyst, recounted the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Napolitano said the passengers in the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania to stop another attack, as well as those who risked their lives to rescue people from buildings in New York and Washington, are "the heroes of 9/11." "Our heroes are ordinary human beings who did extraordinary acts," Napolitano said. "Not great in size but great in courage." Sept 11 #1-3 People look at the memorial Sept 11 #4 Ryker, a sheltie owned by Sylvette Hartroth of Fredon, carrying a flag at the ceremony. Ryker was one of the dogs that helped to comfort those at a family assistance center on Pier 94 in the weeks that followed the September 11 attacks. Sept 11 #5 Ryker (left) and Cinderella, two dogs who helped comfort those at a family assistance center on Pier 94 just after the September 11 attacks, with Cinderella's owner, Karen Vogt of Lafayette and Clara Lappert, 2, of Hampton. Sept 11 #6 Detective Sergeant Mike Richards of the Sussex County PBA Sept 11 #7 The U.S. flag is raised by Tom Ruddy and Bob Moore, members of the Port Authority Police Honor Guard. Sept 11 #8 Guest speaker Hon. Andrew P. Napolitano, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Sept 11 #9 People in the audience. The flags that were handed out to everyone were donated by the Sussex County Community College Alumni Association. Sept 11 #10-11 Five wreaths were set at the memorial Sept 11 #12 Bagpiper Philip Horowitz Sept 11 #13 A Lenape Valley High School band trumpeter plays taps during the lowering of the colors. Sept 11 #14 The U.S. flag is lowered Sept 11 #15 People look at the memorial Sept 11 #16 People look at the memorial and the new plaque that will be placed on it.