By Jessica Remo Clark-Garwood Patch
Clark officials and residents gathered Wednesday morning at James Nelson Memorial Park to remember the 12th anniversary of September 11 and to honor James Nelson, the Clark resident who perished in the attacks.
Nelson, 40, was a Port Authority police officer and lived in Clark with his wife Roseanne and two daughters Anne and Caitlin. Nelson died while working at the scene to save others when the towers collapsed.
Nelson’s wife Roseanne and daughters Anne and Caitlin, attended the memorial and the girls took the mic to thank those gathered for honoring their father.
The ceremony was led by Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso and included opening and closing prayers from Sr. Donna Marie from St. John’s.
Mayor Bonaccorso talked about how he had just helped his son come up with facts about 9/11 for a homework project.
“My wife and I started reminiscing about that day,” said Bonaccorso. “And the hurt, of course, for our beloved Jim and his family. I’ll never forget the love and outpouring of concern in this community. It was my first year as mayor. And I’ll never, ever forget the people of this town. That’ll be something I take to my grave, remembering how everyone was there and the love shown from everyone involved. It was really something. Something I’ll never forget.”
Assemblywoman Linda Stender was also in attendance and spoke about her own reflections on the day and what we can take away from the tragedy.
“I think for me, for many people, that it’s about finding ways to not only keep us safe and make sure we’re strong, but also about creating a more peaceful world, because that’s where a better future will lie,” said Stender. “What do we do in our own lives to have peace in our hearts, in our families and in our communities, so that we can protect ourselves and stand against the evil that we know exists in this world?”
Clark resident Ed Ruth spoke about how he was on his way to work in Tower 1 that day.
“As I reached the next level of the main concourse, I recall that there was a single Port Authority officer directing everyone out of the building,” said Ruth. “At last year’s memorial, Jerry Scaturro spoke about Jim [Nelson]‘s service. Then I couldn’t help thinking that that Port Authority officer could have been Jim or one of his brave colleagues.”
To close the ceremony, Matt Kane led the crowd in a rendition of “America the Beautiful.”
Added to the memorial this year is a small piece of steel from the towers. It will be permanently installed next to the memorial shortly.