Sept. 11 is remembered at Echo Lake Park

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MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ — It was a somber, dreary evening on Monday, Sept. 11, and somehow fitting.

Drizzling rain set the mood as the sun tried to peer out during sunset, even while people trickled by the memorial to pay their respects and honor the lives lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Sept. 11 memorial is located on a hill at the border of Mountainside and Springfield in Union County’s Echo Lake Park, near the Springfield Avenue entrance.

Completed in 2003, the memorial is dedicated to the 60 Union County residents who perished in the 2001 terrorist attacks. The Union County Board of County Commissioners worked alongside residents of Cranford, Elizabeth, Kenilworth, Linden, Mountainside, Rahway, Scotch Plains, Summit, Union and Westfield to design the memorial.

Two sections of steel from the Word Trade Center are positioned next to each other on a five-sided brick base representing the Pentagon, alongside a sculpture of a hand holding an “Eternal Flame,” memorializing the Armed Service members, emergency responders and passengers aboard United Flight 93 who lost their lives that day.

“It has been 22 years since America was gripped by heartbreak, tragedy, and fear in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Although time has passed, the legacy of those we lost, including 60 Union County residents and thousands from across our nation, continues to reside deep within our hearts,” said Commissioner Chairperson Sergio Granados in a statement on the county’s website. “Each year, our community comes together in a solemn memorial to honor the exceptional bravery and selflessness of these individuals and I encourage all of our residents to attend this important vigil, as we pledge to never let their memory fade.”

At approximately 6:45 p.m., several Honor Guards marched in and stationed two who stood to watch at the memorial until 9 p.m. Residents lit candles in remembrance as they shed tears.

Twenty-two years after that fateful day, while some have moved on, for many it is much more difficult. Each anniversary is a stark reminder of things now lost forever, opportunities never realized, birthdays and graduations, anniversaries and further memories.

Marty Roden, chaplain of the Mountainside Rescue Squad, said he worked on Wall Street for 30 years and lost many friends on that tragic day, adding it was “not fun.”

Barbara Tooker, of Winfield Park, didn’t lose any family or friends, but she said she comes every year to pay tribute. “It’s a beautiful memorial,” she said. “The growth of the trees makes it comforting.” She pointed out that she sees people at the memorial all the time, not just on Sept. 11.

Shira Raymond, of Springfield, was there with her two boys, honoring a coach and a first responder, who was the reason her husband started his EMS career.

Erica DuBois, the former mayor of Springfield, who stepped down earlier this year, was at the ceremony with her 11-year-old daughter, Delaney. After hearing about the tragedy in school, Delaney wanted to see the memorial. “I don’t know why people would do that,” Delaney said.

Twenty-two years later, that question still resonates, forever left unanswered.

The names of the 60 Union County residents who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, are:

• Patrick Murphy, 38, Berkeley Heights
• Scott Hazelcorn, 29, Berkeley Heights
• James Nelson, 40, Clark
• Gregory Milanowycz, 25, Cranford
• Thomas M. Regan, 43, Cranford
• Robert Henry Lynch, 44, Cranford
• Christopher Michael Grady, 39,
• Dean Philip Eberling, 44, Cranford
• Leonard Joseph Snyder Jr., 34,
• Arcelia Castillo, 49, Elizabeth
• Carlos S. DaCosta, 41, Elizabeth
• Colleen Laura Fraser, 51, Elizabeth
• Margaret Susan Lewis, 49, Elizabeth
• Frankie Serrano, 23, Elizabeth
• Anthony Tempesta, 38, Elizabeth
• Robert Kaulfers, 49, Kenilworth
• John J. Tobin, 47, Kenilworth
• Wanda Anita Green, 49, Linden
• William Tselepis Jr., 33, New
• Gerard J. Coppola, 46, New Providence
• Richard A. Dunstan, 54, New
• Michael Gogliormella, 43, New
• Robert Wayne Hobson III, 36, New
• Susan D. Murray, 54, New Providence
• Anthony Infante, 47, Mountainside
• Tyrone May, 44, Rahway
• Manette Marie Beckles, 43, Rahway
• Mark Stephen Carney, 41, Rahway
• John G. Ueltzhoeffer, 36, Roselle Park
• Matthew Horning, 26, Scotch Plains
• Mark Rothenberg, Scotch Plains
• James Walsh, 37, Scotch Plains
• Thomas R. Clark, 37, Summit
• James Lee Connor, 38, Summit
• Kevin Raymond Crotty, 43, Summit
• Thomas I. Glasser, 40, Summit
• Robert A. Lawrence Jr., 41, Summit
• Alfred Todd Rancke, 42, Summit
• Clive “Ian” Thompson, 43, Summit
• David Broian Brady, 41, Summit
• Mark Bruce, 40, Summit
• JoAnn L. Heltibridle, 46, Springfield
• Lee Adler, 48, Springfield
• Robert Allan Hepburn, 39, Union
• Edward Calderon, 43, Union
• Khalid M. Shahid, 25, Union
• Charles Karczewski, 34, Union
• Brian Frederic Goldberg, 27, Union
• Thomas J. Fisher, 36, Union
• Eddie Wing-Wai Ching, 29, Union
• Bella Bhukhan, 24, Union
• Wayne Alan Russo, 37, Union
• Andrew J. Alemeno, 37, Westfield
• Michael A. Davidson, 27, Westfield
• Stephen Mark Fogel, 40, Westfield
• Leo Russell Keene III, 33, Westfield
• Richard B. Madden, 35, Westfield
• John “Pepe” Salerno Jr., 31, Westfield
• See-Wong Shum, 44, Westfield
• Anthony Starita, 35, Westfield

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta