By Thomas J. Meehan III Berkeley Patch
My wife and I made the journey from Toms River to Liberty State Park, there were traffic delays on the NJ Turnpike, and once exiting the Turnpike at exit 14B a detour to get to the Park parking area, and the site of the New Jersey Memorial, which delayed our arrival. We hoped we were not late for the start of the ceremony.
We had received a post card telling us that a ceremony of remembrance would be held on Sunday September 8th at 1 pm.
As we arrived a few moments after 1 pm, riding down the cobblestone roadway, the parking lot was full, people in line to purchase tickets for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty; a boat show was in progress by the marina.
We parked our car, and walked to the front of the memorial, one could see other family members waiting, strange no news trucks, or speakers platform, or chairs for those unable to stand. In fact, there was no visible sign that a ceremony was to be conducted at all.
Another set of parents who lost their son, Anthony and Gloria offered us some folding chairs to use, and we began to have a catch up conversation, small talk, but important to bring each other up to date on the milestones in our lives since the last ceremony in 2012, even smiles as we spoke of our grand-children, and waited.
It is important to understand that as parents, those we lost will always be remembered by us by their siblings, their spouses, their friends, their co-workers, and those who loved them as we do. That is the very nature of a personal loss of life to a family.
The ceremony as those in the past, would remind us of what was lost as a Nation, State, and Community. The reason to hold such events is not just for the next of kin, but to remind our collective self, the public, what the names on the two walls of Empty Sky represent, perhaps the loss of a future Governor, doctor, lawyer, minister, or even a dedicated public servant.
In the wee hours of the morning on 9/9/13, the newspapers reported the cancellation, primary reason “lack of interest”, how sad.
Father of Colleen Ann Meehan Barkow, age 26 WTC