VAN DREW HONORS THE VICTIMS AND HEROES OF SEPTEMBER 11TH : News Room : The Van Drew Team for Change : Jeff Van Drew, Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land
VAN DREW HONORS THE VICTIMS AND HEROES OF SEPTEMBER 11TH
VINELAND — Cumberland County College (CCC) hosted a 9/11 Remembrance on Thursday, presented by the Criminal Justice Society in recognition of the nearly 3,000 victims killed on Sept. 11, 2001, including 72 responding police officers.“In an instant, our nation was thrown into shock, disbelief and grief. … We learned that evil coexists with good, and how powerful and destructive hate can be,” said the Rev. Dr. Frank Ippolito, City of Vineland Police Chaplain, presenting the event’s invocation.“But in the darkest moments of crisis, we see the best side of humanity. We learned how to cry, how to pray and how to reach out to our neighbors. We learned that love is a very priceless commodity that lives on forever.”CCC President Dr. Thomas Isekenegbe reflected upon both the sick feeling in his stomach watching footage of the planes hitting the Twin Towers 10 years ago and the pride he felt for the resolve shown by the country and the local community.“Remember that in the end, the way of truth and love will always win. Truth and love will always prevail,” Isekenegbe paraphrased from Mahatma Gandhi.NJ Sen. Jeff Van Drew repudiated any claims that the past decade’s economic, political, social and military challenges indicate that America’s best days are in the past.“We believe in individual freedoms, in saying what we believe and praying what we believe, in standing up and working hard with honor,” Van Drew said. “Self-reliance and self-respect: that’s what we represent as a nation. … That’s the nation we saw on 9/11.”Van Drew cited the words of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt in reminding individuals to be willing to give and nobly participate to support the nation’s position as a beacon of light and a shining city upon a hill in the global community.“In the common vernacular of today, life is not a spectator sport,” Van Drew said, encouraging citizens to once again stand shoulder to shoulder as united Americans.Assemblyman Matt Milam noted that one of the questions on everyone’s mind leading up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is, as the Alan Jackson song asks, “Where were you when the world stopped turning?”“That day, America shined, where the heroes really, really came out. We’ll never forget,” Milam said. “We are one nation under God, and it is in God we trust.”Freeholder Director Bill Whelan shared a story his brother-in-law, Mike, who was a responding lieutenant of the New York Fire Department on 9/11, recently told him at a family gathering.Mike recalled the evacuation and mayday calls coming over the radio that morning in the voices of colleagues he’d trained with and known well. Then, everything went silent.“He and my sister went to over 50 funerals after 9/11. He’s my hero for what he did for people he didn’t know, and for being a guy who survived that,” Whelan said.Mike has since been forced to retire and live on disability benefits after developing bladder cancer as a result of the dust and carcinogens that entered his system as a 9/11 first responder.“We can’t forget what heroes did, and we don’t ever want to forget the survivors or those living with whatever pain they live with,” said Whelan. “Let’s be united and do a better job of that as we work through our differences moving forward.”The remembrance featured moving renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful,” performed by the Calvary Chapel Trio, comprised of Russell Sterger, Anthony Ippolito and Michael Ippolito.The names of 72 police heroes who died on Sept. 11 were recited, and Honor Guards presented a red, white and blue floral wreath in remembrance of all 9/11 victims.The ceremony was concluded with “Amazing Grace,” played on the bagpipes by Jason Flood of the Camden County Emerald Society Pipes & Drums.
“We think about words such as compassion; vengeance and faith, hope and love; I think faith, hope and love is the right track for us to follow,” Whelan said.