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NJ town to host 9/11 ceremony after NYC services scrapped

Middletown refuses to settle for silence on 9/11.

The New Jersey town — which misplaced 37 residents within the assaults on the World Trade Center, essentially the most per capita of any town in that state — will host a service to learn aloud the names of the town’s victims on Friday. This, after the 9/11 Memorial & Museum mentioned that, due to COVID-19 dangers, victims’ members of the family wouldn’t be studying the names of their family members at Ground Zero. Instead, for the primary time ever, a recorded model will likely be performed.

“It means so much to me that Middletown is doing [its own reading],” mentioned Laurie Tietjen, whose 31-year-old brother, Port Authority cop Ken Tietjen, perished on 9/11. “To come to Middletown, where my brother grew up, and be around his teachers and friends, it’s an incredible feeling. Middletown has always been about the families, never about politics.”

At 7 a.m., Mayor Tony Perry will start studying the names throughout a ceremony on the town’s WTC Memorial Gardens, which opened in 2003. It will likely be broadcast on native information and on the town’s Facebook web page.

Normally, Middletown marks the tragic day with a quiet candlelit night vigil and reads the names solely each 5 years. But Perry was motivated to add the Nineteenth-anniversary observance after each the standard NYC studying and the Tribute in Light had been scrapped. (After public outcry, the Memorial reversed course and can shine the beams of sunshine from Manhattan.)

After the live reading of 9/11 victims’ names by Ground Zero was canceled, an alternative reading is taking place at the Middletown, NJ, World Trade Center Memorial Gardens.
After the dwell studying of 9/11 victims’ names by Ground Zero was canceled, an alternate studying is going down on the Middletown, NJ, World Trade Center Memorial Gardens.Getty Images

“Here, it cuts deeper than most places,” Perry instructed The Post. Initially he wrote a letter to Alice Greenwald, CEO of the 9/11 Memorial, providing to host the lights if New York City wouldn’t. He was bothered by what he noticed as hypocrisy.

“To say the VMAs can take place in the city, and crews can work on that, why couldn’t they find a way to have the lights as well?” Perry mentioned. “We were ready to figure it out. I wanted those lights so bright so Mayor de Blasio could see them from his side of the river.”

Tietjen echoed that sentiment.

“Through this pandemic, we have found different ways to do things and honor people. The fact that there wasn’t even initially an effort put into the lights and reading the names, it was heartbreaking,” she mentioned.

Middletown officers weren’t the one ones to step up amid the controversy. The Staten Island-based Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation additionally provided to stage the 2 beams of sunshine and can maintain its personal names studying on Friday, adjoining to Ground Zero.

Perry mentioned Monmouth County officers may also, for the primary time, arrange tribute lights in close by Atlantic Highlands, which overlooks Manhattan.

Port Authority officer Ken Tietjen.
Port Authority officer Ken Tietjen.Tamara Beckwith

“It’s not going to be the same, but for the families of those lost on that day, I need to provide them with a little glimpse that can give them peace through that difficult time,” the Middletown mayor added.

Every 12 months on the anniversary, Tietjen — who now runs a basis in her brother’s identify that advantages numerous causes, together with first responders and youngsters in want — drops off flowers at Ground Zero. She then visits firehouses and police stations all through New York City to categorical her gratitude, one thing she believes is required greater than ever in at present’s divisive local weather. This 12 months, she’s going to head to metropolis after the morning services in Middletown.

Her brother, Ken, was working on the PATH station when the assaults occurred, and he and his companion  commandeered a cab to the World Trade Center. While he perished, his companion lived to relay his heroics on that day.

“[Ken] was in and out of the towers multiple times, and he was giving first aid to a woman when the Towers fell,” Tietjan mentioned. “I was working in New York at the time, and watching the television. When the towers came down, we all started crying. I said, ‘Oh those poor families and right after, I found out I was one of those families.”

Now she is devoted to holding her brother’s reminiscence alive, whatever the location.

“For me, it’s such a tribute for people to say, ‘We don’t need big cities. We are going to do it on our own.’”

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