By JOHN T. WARD
The solemn formalities the presentation of the colors, the patriotic songs, the speeches and prayer had ended. Red Bank’s volunteer firefighters, in crisp dress blues, had marched out of Riverside Gardens Park, preceded by the police department and Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch, a bagpipe band, to the sound of a single, snapping drum.
On the promontory overlooking a placid Navesink River in gray twilight, Muriel Hemschoot and her daughter, Carol Hemschoot Bossio, mingled with borough officials who’d known them all their lives, laughing and sharing thoughts about Mark Hemschoot, Muriel’s son and Carol’s brother, a borough fireman who died at the World Trade Center in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
As signified by the large tattoo inked on Bossio’s shoulder, the “permanent tribute” she’ll take to her own grave, there remained a gulf between those who lost loved ones and those whose experience of it was more remote, Bossio said. Still, the hourlong event had a salutary effect, she and her mother agreed.
The Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch lead the Red Bank police and volunteer fire departments (Click to enlarge)
“A lot of people I think don’t understand that the grief never goes away,” Bossio told redbankgreen. “But everybody has their own take on how it affected them; everybody reacted to it so differently.”
Was a ceremony like the one she’d just witnessed, in which Mayor Pasquale Menna and others praised her son, a consolation to Muriel Hemschoot?
“I don’t say ‘consoling.’ You’re never consoled you’re always mourning,” Muriel said. “You think about it all the time.”
But a memorial like Sunday’s, to mark the tenth anniversary of the atttacks, “makes you realize that everyone has suffered,” she said. “Everyone suffers in a different way, and I’m very happy that people do something like this. It keeps all the people’s memories alive.”
Also in attendance, in addition to members of the Hemschoot family, were survivors of Brendan Lang, who was 30 years old and a new homeowner in town.
Mark Hemschoot, whose last name is pronounced HEM-scott, was 45 years old.