A DECADE LATER, A TOWN GATHERS AGAIN

Ten years to the day after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Red Bankers and others gathered where many were drawn that night: to the esplanade of Riverside Gardens Park, overlooking our beautiful Navesink River, to remember two townsmen who were among the 2,819 killed.

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A MOTHER, A SISTER & RED BANK REMEMBER

tattooCarol Bossio, with her mother, Muriel Hemschoot below, displayed the tattoo she had inked as a tribute to her brother, Mark. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

muriel-carol1The 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.

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911 DISPATCH STILL AN ISSUE IN FAIR HAVEN

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s been close to two years since Fair Haven jobbed out its emergency dispatching services to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s 911 Communication Center, and so far, not so good. Still.

“We’re no more satisfied than we were last year,” said former fire chief Jim Cerruti.

Councilman Rowland Wilhelm said Monday that it comes down to clarity of the calls and delays in the calls being relayed to fire and first aiders.

Wilhelm, along with police and fire representatives, is scheduled to meet with county officials today (Thursday) “to try and allay these issues or straighten them out the best we can.”

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LOCALS MOURN BIN LADEN’S VICTIMS

11-memorialToms River resident and Jersey City firefighter Mark Lee visited the memorial stone of his lifelong friend Paul Nimbley at Middletown’s September 11 memorial garden Monday, fresh off the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. armed forces. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Paul Nimbley and Mark Lee were like brothers. They grew up together, went to school together in Jersey City. Lee was Nimbley’s best man at his wedding.

Nearly 10 years ago, Nimbley was one of nearly 3,000 killed at the World Trade Center and two other locations in attacks orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, the elusive-yet-ubiquitous face of 21st century terror who finally met his demise at the hands of U.S. special forces Sunday.

On the heels of that bittersweet news, Lee, a Jersey City firefighter, made a reflective, heart-wrenching trip to pay respects at his friend’s memorial stone at Middletown’s September 11 memorial garden Monday morning.

While there is no true closure in knowing that bin Laden’s reign as a mastermind of terror is over, it lifts a weight of uncertainty that bin Laden would ever face retribution for his horrors against humanity, Lee said.

“It still hurts. I lost my best friend,” Lee, of Toms River, said. “The world’s been changed by this, and now I think it’s better off.”

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BASIE DOC A ‘CLEAR’ TRIBUTE TO RBC GRAD

severclearscottiVideo footage, shot in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by former Marine lieutenant (and Red Bank Catholic graduate) Mike Scotti, forms the core of SEVERE CLEAR, the documentary feature screening on September 11 at the Count Basie Theatre. It’s a fundraiser for the Reserve Aid organization, as well as a tribute to Scotti’s RBC classmate Beth Quigley, who was killed in the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

By TOM CHESEK

Even though it falls this year on an event-packed late summer Saturday, the approach of September 11 can’t help but spur some moments of reflection for anyone who made their home in and around the Red Bank green on that day in 2001.

It’s impossible not to flash back to where you were on 9/11 — whether it was the newly opened Riverside Gardens, whose walls and walkways became the area’s unofficial town square for makeshift memorials and candlelit vigils. Or the commuter ferry docks of the Bayshore, where scores of dazed and dust-covered escapees from Ground Zero were hosed down and given a chance to get their bearings. Or particularly hard-hit Middletown, where a walk-through monument garden would sprout up adjacent to the township’s train station.

As a First Lieutenant on active duty with the 1st Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment, Mike Scotti remembers quite well where he was as the planes hit the towers — and the fact that, as he explains, he was playing craps in a casino in Darwin, Australia, illustrates both the real element of surprise involved and the speed with which the military response was effected.

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