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UPDATE/PHOTOS: Barnegat Township Officials Dedicate 9/11 Memorial

Dedication held earlier today.

In front of Barnegat Township municipal hall stands a reminder of one of the most tragic events in history, which - similar to the tragic event yesterday - brought many across the world together in grief and reflection.

It is with the spirit of reflection in mind, that township officials planned a memorial to 9/11 - which includes a beam from the World Trade Center - and a dedication for that memorial earlier today.

The dedication was originally planned for Sept. 11 of this year, but township officials said the event was postponed because almost all of the materials and labor for the memorial were donated, and the volunteers handling these materials were delayed with paying projects. Then Sandy hit, and work was diverted once again. At the Township Committee meeting held last week, Mayor Al Cirulli said the dedication would be held Dec. 15.

This memorial is actually the second in the township. The first was placed on the Barnegat Township High School grounds in August of 2011. 

In a town with so many residents who survived the aftermath of the collapse of the World Trade towers – 15 9/11 first responders call Barnegat home – it was felt to be very important to have a memorial to remind people of the tragedy and heroism of that day, Charlie Giles, a resident and first responder who was instrumental in bringing both memorials to the town, told Patch at the first dedication.

But, the first memorial was placed in an area that was not easily accessible after school times, and Mayor Cirulli and other township officials said they wanted a memorial in front of the township building that would be accessible at all times.

It was this controversy that led several in town to question why a second memorial was needed. Much of the controversy centered on Giles himself. Giles said the same controversial truck that transported a tower piece recovered from the wreckage of Ground Zero to the high school last year escorted the township truck that brought this piece to the township as well.

The men that drove the truck, Thomas J. Scalgione, 40, of Manahawkin and Mark Anthony Niemczyk, 66, of Tinton Falls were recently ordered to disgorge $121,116 in donations, pay civil penalties and are permanently barred from working for any charitable organization in New Jersey after they were found to be operating a bogus charity that claimed to be supporting the families of emergency responders who died at the World Trade Center on 9-11. Some have questioned how these men came to be involved in the transport of the pieces, and blame Giles' for contacting them in the first place.

Cirulli said in an interview with Patch that he hopes that despite the fact that some of the people involved in bringing both pieces to Barnegat have been marred in controversy, that it will not negatively impact the memorial's overall message.

"This is an event we should never forget, and then all this stuff started, and it became so disrespectful," Cirulli said. "I would hope that it wouldn't dishonor the memory of this place."

The message of never forgetting was a common theme of many speeches delivered during the dedication, including a keynote address delivered by New York fireman Salvatore Velez, and 9/11 first responder and Barnegat Townshp police officer Stephen Tatur. 

Cirulli also paused for a moment during the memorial to recognize the victims of the tragic events of yesterday, as well.

"I'm so happy to see this memorial, right in the center of town, so that people are always reminded and never forget the heroes of that day," Velez said.

Tatur said the memorial should serve as a reminder of the sacrifices that all emergency personnel make to protect and serve the public.

Other participants included Ms. Margie Smith, who is the widow of a 9/11 first responder, Harold Smith, and other emergency personnel and local officials.

The event ended with nearly everyone at the event singing "God Bless America" together with lead vocalist, Rachel Nokes. 

wookfish December 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM
We need TWO? oh yeah that's right, we've got money to burn
wookfish December 15, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Forgot, good-bye Al..
Plunket of Barnegat December 15, 2012 at 03:11 PM
How much money was spent on this?
Bill Cox December 15, 2012 at 03:55 PM
After all the delays, the numerous dates, this is all the notice the people of Barnegat get? An article posted at 5:30 am on the day of the event? I saw in on the Town billboard as I drove by yesterday but that was it. Guess the town wasn’t interested in people hearing a few of the speeches or seeing some of the invited guests. Glad I don’t live far away, I will make sure I get there.
Plunket of Barnegat December 15, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Of course we were notified at the last second. They don't want anyone showing up asking embarrassing questions.
Econtenor December 16, 2012 at 08:36 AM
Would have been nice if Station 11 and Squad 11 were invited to the ceremony, given they are our first responder organizations in town. Once again, fantastic planning by our soon-to-be-ex mayor, et. al.
F.Lee December 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Does the incoming Democratic Majority have any plans to add any addtional 9/11 Memorials? Was any Barnegat Resident at the Alamo?? Fort McHenry?? Cross the Delaware with George Washington?? I hope this is finally over and the " Heroes" will get into the famous 9/11 truck and go out to South Dakota and start a campaign to add themselves to Mount Rushmore
Charles J. Giles December 16, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Hi Chris, just wanted to let you know that Station 11 and Squad 11 were invited. As we're Pinewood Estates, Barnegat PD, And QMT all who are the current day Responders.
Charles J. Giles December 16, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Thank you to everyone who attended the dedication. There were approx. 100 people in attendance including many First Responders from 9/11, family members of deceased First Responders, Residents and supporters. May everyone have a Happy Holiday Season. Thank You.
Econtenor December 16, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Actually, they were not. Perhaps you should speak to the Council about that.
Tony Costello December 16, 2012 at 11:23 PM
As a resident in town, I cant believe people will criticize a sacred memorial that was built to remind the people of that horrible day. True Americans with any feelings will let the politics fade away. I was honored to be a part of this and I would like to Thank Charlie, the committee, the Police dept, Fire Dept, and the EMS for this wonderful memorial. People with negative comments should let it go! Happy Holidays to All!
Xavier December 16, 2012 at 11:41 PM
That new fire truck is impressive looking. I can't wait until we have a building tall enough to get our money's worth.
Rick December 17, 2012 at 06:31 PM
You really should have been there before you asked that question. The new aerial ladder truck was there supporting a large American Flag.
Rick December 17, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Some people who keep themselves informed about events in town have known about it for at least a week.
Rick December 17, 2012 at 07:10 PM
This isn't the right place for such comments.
D Feeley Sr. December 19, 2012 at 12:19 AM
I would like to start this off by saying thank you too Everyone involved in bring this detication to us all . And as far as I'm concern you folks with a negative attitude towards this and too a new piece of fire equipmant try too bit your tongues and say a prayer for the people that go out and do these jobs that you take for granted , they put their liveson the line everyday and all you do is bad mouth them .Would it hurt you to say something nice instead and save your expertise for the township meetings and with that I'ld like too say have a Merry Christmas too all and a Happy New Year ! Or what ever you celebrate May God Bless you all . Denis M Feeley
Charles J. Giles December 19, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Merry Christmas Denis and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you and yours. God Bless.You Always.

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