Middletown holds its annual Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony

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Middletown residents held their annual remembrance ceremony to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Middletown lost 37 people on that day – the most residents per capita of any other New Jersey town. The town’s residents say that the annual ceremony is a time of reflection.

Four wreaths were placed at the arched gate to the memorial, while a bell was struck 37 times for each life lost. It was followed by a slow procession by candlelight, moving along a winding brick path past stone memorials to the victims.

"What I like most about this site is the serenity. You have a quiet trail marked by a fountain on the side,” says Middletown Mayor Tony Perry.

The stones have the image of each victim etched into them – victims like Lorraine Antigua, Jane Beatty and Ken Tietjen.

John Drucker says that he and his wife come to the memorial every year to place a carnation on each stone. He says that if not for a promotion at work that had him transfer from the World Trade Center to New Jersey, he could have been another victim from Middletown.

“The last day that I was at the World Trade Center on [the 81st floor] was on Sept. 7,” he says.

Drucker says that for over eight years he worked in the North Tower as an engineer for Siemens. He still carries a photo of his badge. After the 1993 bombing at World Trade, Drucker was hired by the Port Authority to help rebuild the Trade Center Fire Protection System.

"The team was huge. It was a Herculean effort. And I lost a lot of people I worked with,” Drucker says.

Drucker says that after the attack he felt a sense of survivor’s guilt, which is why he says he comes back to the Middletown memorial every year.

“You feel grief, that somehow should you have been there. Did you leave them behind?” he says.

Drucker says that it is important that no one forgets what happened on that day.

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