Veterans Gather in Avalon to Remember 9/11

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AVALON, N.J. -

Fog loomed along the 7 Mile Island this morning as veterans from all over the country gathered in Avalon to remember September 11th, 2001, a day that changed the country forever.

“The ceremony provided the opportunity [and] a chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with our veterans, first responders, police, EMT, [and] firefighters, who all played a major role in the response and recovery following 9/11,” said Scott Wahl, business administrator for Avalon.

“For me it was very personal. I was in the military during 9/11," said Ray Gagnon, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling Empire, a Military Veteran Partners company. "I have many friends who are not here anymore because of 9/11. Not only on that day but because of the aftermath.” 

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Students from the local elementary school sang "God Bless America" and soon after people were taken back 17 years as they remembered what their experiences were like on that tragic day during a moment of silence.

“To be able to take the message of what happened on 9/11 and really relate the impact to all the other people since then because it really set off a chain of events," said Steve Cloetingh, CEO of Military Veteran Partners, explaining the reason for the ceremony. "So, to be able to celebrate that and remember that with these guys is really an honor for me.” 

 

For many veterans in attendance, seeing and experiencing this ceremony meant a lot.

“To see people actually take the time to remember those people who gave us our freedoms and who provided our freedoms through the ultimate sacrifice [is] huge," said Gagnon. "It’s very touching."

“Truly an amazing morning and a memorable, memorable visit to Avalon," said Matt Eversmann, 1st Sgt. Army veteran. "I hope that we never forget that pain, the frustration, the sorrow, and just the fear that comes along with being attacked.” 

I have many friends who are not here anymore because of 9/11, not only on that day but because of the aftermath.

Officials with the Borough of Avalon hope people remember and honor those lives lost on that day — all year long — when they visit the town's September 11 Memorial Plaza.

“This memorial contains a piece of beam from the World Trade Center. It leans nine degrees, 11 minutes towards Manhattan," said Wahl. "There are four coins that are on the bottom of the memorial. Only on the morning of September 11th of every year will that shadow from the beam cover the coin at the time when one of the planes hit.” 

The memorial is a permanent fixture to remember and honor this day in history and all those lives that were forever affected.

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