As the names of loved ones were called out, the families and people connected to Holmdel's victims of 9/11 placed tribute candles and roses and a few cards upon the granite memorial in front of Town Hall Sunday.
More than 200 people had gathered in the warm evening for the ten-year remembrance, planned for the moment dusk turned to dark. Beams of light from the tall ladders of humming firetrucks lit up the monument. The flags in the memorial circle drive were notably at half-staff, and the glass candles glowed as they were placed on top of the monument.
"Like the hands on the monument, we reach out to [God] seeking solace and understanding," said William Allingham in his invocation. Allingham is the father of victim Christopher E. Allingham, who died at the World Trade Center.
The township's ceremony was organized by 911 Memorial Chairperson Lisa Hettler, who lost her brother-in-law Paul V. Barbaro in the tragedy. She recruited a talented 16-year old bagpiper John Smallis of Holmdel, the police department's precision honor guard, and the soothing voices of four Holmdel High School students who sang the National Anthem, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Hero with the gentle strum of a ukelele.
In his speech, Mayor Patrick Impreveduto overcame a microphone failure by speaking loud enough to be heard. "Sheer guts are what's great about America," he said. He asked the crowd to bow their heads to remember those lost so that they would not have died and vain. "Let us strive for a better future for all mankind," he said.
On the edge of the crowd, one man stood out in his Fire Dept. of New York City officer's white cap and dress uniform. Retired Lt. Gregory Fodor of Holmdel had come in tribute to his brother, Lt. Michael Fodor, Jr. Both men responded to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center as members of the FDNY's Ladder 21.
"I survived. My brother didn't survive," said Fodor. Years ago he contributed a framed photo of Michael, who was a 53-year old resident of Warwick N.Y. when he died, to be encased inside the monument designed by Holmdel artist Kyle Galante. Despite Gregory's effort to search the pile for seven months, Michael's remains were never found. "I come here on my brother's birthday, May 16," he said.
This was the first time he came to a township 9/11 commemoration ceremony. "I think the monument is beautiful," he said.
The following names were read aloud at the ceremony:
Christopher E. Allingham
Paul V. Barbaro
Evan Jay Baron
Michael P. LaForte
Chih Min "Dennis" Foo
Robert L. Horohoe, Jr.
Gregory M. Preziose
Eric Adam Stahlman
Immediate Family Members of Residents
Eric T. Allen - FDNY
Peter Paul Apollo
Brett T. Bailey
Dominick E. Calia
Lt. Peter Louis Freund FDNY
Frederick K. Han
Brendan M. Lang
Rosanne P. Lang
Robert Scandole, Jr.
James J. Straine, Jr.