Under gray, soggy skies, dozens assembled to remember the thousands who perished in the terrorist attacks of Sept.11, 2001. A ceremony of remembrance took place in front of the 9/11 memorial at Parsippany's Town Hall Sunday afternoon.
The event began with a presentation of flags by the color guards of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10184 and American Legion Post 249. Michelle Musolino, accompanied by keyboardist Howard Reed, followed with a rendition of the national anthem that left the crowd visibly moved.
Dr. Joseph Weisberg, former mayor of Parsippany, served as emcee.
In his invocation, Msgr. Herbert Tillyer of St. Peter the Apostle Church, sought to comfort and inspire the crowd, offering a prayer to remember the nearly 3,000 victims, the responders and those still feeling sorrow.
Freeholder Ann Grossi, who helped make the town's 9/11 memorial a reality, was next at the podium. Grossi told of her experience driving in Newark 10 years ago and seeing the towers on fire.
"It was the first time I felt terrified," she said. "This time it was different, this time, the victims were everyday people just going to work, just trying to make a living."
Mayor James Barberio appeared next and reflected on how society has changed in the past 10 years. He spoke of the difficulty in finding some bright side in the events that unfolded at the World Trade Center. Though difficult, there was one, he said.
"We found comfort, compassion and hope in communities, especially here in Parsippany," he said. "As a nation, a strong bond was formed in our desire to protect and defend this great country. What was supposed to have been our downfall turned into this country's finest hour."
As Musolino and Reed performed the classic "Amazing Grace," the emotion in the crowd was evident.
Rabbi Ronald Kaplan of Temple Beth Am brought the event to a close with his benediction. The rabbi kept his remarks short, blowing a ceremonial Jewish shofar and calling for "Shalom, salaam, peace."
Officials on hand for the solemn event included the mayor, Business Administrator Jasmine Lim, Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Eric Hubner, Freeholders Gene Feyl, Ann Grossi and Margaret Nordstrom; Township Council members John Cesaro, Michael dePierro, Vincent Ferrara, John Fox and Brian Stanton; and Planning Board members Loretta Gragnani and Milin Shah.
"This is a tough day, but it's one that can bring us closer together," said Mayor Barberio. "As we saw over the past two weeks with the hurricane and flooding, tragedy unites us as a community. We saw that 10 years ago as well, and we see it today and every time we remember.
"As hard as it is, we will never forget what happened. We'll never forget. And we will get through whatever happens, as a community."