MIDDLETOWN HONORS 37

mtown-candlesVotive candles symbolized the lives of Middletown residents who died in the attack, including Louis Minervino. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By MOLLY MULSHINE

minervinoA solemn ceremony Sunday evening marked the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center Memorial Gardens in Middletown, the sprawling township that lost 37 of its residents in the terrorist attacks that day.

Among those present was Carmen Devaux, whose family lost a friend and co-worker, Louis J. Minervino.

“I always come [to the memorial service] because of Lou,” she said. “We just think of Lou all the time.”

The memorial ceremony provided Devaux and hundreds of Middletown residents with “a source of comfort,” she said.

Ledger Live video of the Middletown ceremony by Brian Donohue of the Star-Ledger.

Middletown Fire Department Chaplain Rev. Scott Harris addressed the crowd during the service.

“None of us wants to be here,” he said. “We wish September 11 was just another day on the calendar between the end of summer and the beginning of fall. We wish that this was still just the woods behind Banfield [Road], and that no memorial was ever needed.”

After the sun had set, as the families of those killed walked through the gardens together, members of  Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2179 and American Legion Post 338 lit votive candles, one each in memory of the deceased. Afterward, ‘Taps’ played in the distance.

Harris said those left behind should not be considered victims.

“Victims are powerless — objects of pity — but those in our midst are strong like survivors,” he said.

Although the aftermath of the 9/11 in Middletown felt “surreal,” according to resident Robert Rosenbaum, “it was unbelievable the way everybody got together. We never want to forget, and we’re grateful for what we have.”