For Immediate Release – September 17, 2021
MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Middletown Township held a memorial service at the Middletown World Trade Center Memorial Gardens, located next to the Middletown Arts Center (36 Church Street), on Saturday, September 11th in honor of the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.
More than a thousand people, including 9/11 families, residents, government officials, first responders, military, and clergy, gathered on the lawn as the bagpipes played and a large American flag was raised by the Middletown Township Fire Department. The program began with Naval Weapons Station Earle Color Guard presenting the colors and Police Chief R. Craig Weber leading our community in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Brookdale Concordia Chorale, led by directors Cynthia and John Balm, performed a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem, as those in attendance bowed their heads while Rev. Jeffrey J. Kegley of St. Mary’s Mother of God Church delivered the Invocation.
Mayor Tony Perry made the opening remarks and reminded everyone about the heroism of that fateful day, the patriotism that enveloped our nation after the attacks, and how our community united to help those who had lost loved ones.
“Twenty years ago, Middletown tragically lost 37 residents – our community and our Nation rushed to their side,” said Mayor Tony Perry. “This year’s anniversary ceremony brought us back together to honor and remember those individuals and keep their spirits, and the spirit of patriotism, alive.”
Mayor Perry then welcomed guest speaker, Naval Weapons Station Earle Commander Edward L. Callahan. Commander Callahan shared powerful words and encouraged everyone to remember the resilience and “the indomitable power of the American spirit, the very fabric that binds us all together, despite our differences” and to never forget what happened on American soil 20 years ago.
Former Middletown Township Committeewoman and Chairperson of the Middletown WTC Memorial Gardens Committee Patricia Snell then read the 37 names of every life taken from Middletown. As each name was read, a bell tolled and a candle was lit in their memory.
Snell spearheaded Middletown's WTC Memorial Gardens 20th anniversary fundraising campaign to enhance the Gardens. The Committee added two monuments: The Heroes Monument, a symbol of gratitude to Middletown's first responders and members of the military, and The Capriotti Memorial to honor Detective Lt. Joseph Capriotti, and all those lost to 9/11-related illnesses. Detective Lt. Capriotti was known as the “keeper of the list” of the friends and neighbors we lost in Middletown. He personally notified every single family who had lost a loved one that day and ultimately gave his life for 9/11, dying from a 9/11-related illness.
The Committee, with the help of Middletown-based Whirl Construction, also installed a new walkway of personalized bricks purchased by community members that lead to the memorial pathway. Moving forward, the WTC Memorial Gardens Committee is raising funds for a fountain that will embrace visitors at the end of the memorial walkway. With both remnants from the original World Trade Center, and an inspirational poem embedded in the concrete path around it, “The Rise of Hope” fountain will serve as a reminder of our past as we look toward the future. During the ceremony, Riccardo Berlingeri, the artist behind this new addition, stood alongside a rendering of the fountain to discuss the inspiration behind his design and answer any questions. If you would like to donate to this important project, or purchase an engraved brick that will line the memorial pathway, visit www.middletownremembers911.com.
Rev. Father Luigi Hargain, E.M.F, from St. Augustine's Monastery closed the program with an inspirational and hopeful Benediction. The evening's event concluded with a candlelit procession through the WTC Memorial Gardens led by the Middletown Township Committee and first responders. Community members joined the procession while listening to the bagpiper play “Amazing Grace”. To view photos of the event, please visit https://flic.kr/s/aHsmWDpkrE.
Residents honored at the Gardens are:
Lorraine D. Antigua
Jane S. Beatty
Alfred J. Braca
Ronald M. Breitweiser
Patrick J. Buhse
Stephen J. Cangialosi
Swede Joseph Chevalier
Dolores Marie Costa
Edward Desimone III
Daniel J. Gallagher
John M. Grazioso
Patrick A. Hoey
Kathleen A. Hunt Casey
Brendan Mark Lang
Rosanne P. Lang
Anna A. Laverty
Michael Patrick McDonnell
Peter T. Milano
Louis J. Minervino
Justin John Molisani, Jr.
James Thomas Murphy
Paul R. Nimbley
Robert Emmett Parks, Jr.
Nicholas P. Pietrunti
John M. Pocher
Beth Ann Quigley
Robert Andrew Spencer
Rodney James Wotton
September 11th is recognized annually as Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance in Middletown Township by the Middletown Township Committee. Flag banners are installed annually as a tribute to the September 11th victims. The flag banners hang on telephone poles along Kings Highway, Church Street, and Middletown-Lincroft Road. The banners are sponsored by local businesses, organizations, and individuals. The flag banner display became part of the Township’s annual 9/11 commemoration in 2011. The project was spearheaded by Tony Fiore, who served as Mayor in 2011 and 2012. New “Middletown Remembers” sponsored banners were hung this year in recognition of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
About the Middletown WTC Memorial Gardens
The Memorial Gardens were developed by the Middletown WTC Memorial Committee, a group consisting of family members and interested residents. The Memorial Gardens were opened to the public on September 11, 2003. Development of the memorial was made possible largely through monetary donations, as well as construction and design services from local businesses. Visitors are welcome at the Middletown WTC Memorial Gardens, located at the Middletown Arts Center at 36 Church Street, from dawn to dusk daily. The Memorial Gardens continue to be maintained with financial assistance from the Middletown WTC Memorial Gardens Fund in partnership with Middletown Township. Donations for the perpetual maintenance of the Gardens are welcome and appreciated. Please visit middletownremembers911.com for more information about how you can help support our WTC Memorial Gardens. Donations can also be sent to: Middletown WTC Memorial Gardens Committee, c/o Mayor’s Office, Middletown Township, 1 Kings Highway, Middletown, NJ 07748.