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Medford set to remember 9/11

“I’m sure every one of us remembers vividly the events of that tragic day.”

That from Walt Urban, chairman of the Medford Cultural Arts Commission, about Sept. 11 2001. He is coordinating the 10th year commemoration of the event, which will be held at the Freedom Park gazebo.

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The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 4 p.m.

Urban said he was on the phone with a client who happened to be watching TV as they spoke.

“He commented, ‘Oh my God I have to run something terrible just happened,’” Urban remembered.

The client told Urban that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center so Urban went to a conference room to watch on TV what was transpiring.

He had served in the Navy reserves and an admiral he had served under was a passenger on the plane that hit the Pentagon.

“He was tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Urban said, noting we are at war with terrorists, some of whom would love to see the U.S. laid low.

“I think that was sort of a wake up call that we need to do everything we can as a nation to be strong and fight terrorism on the global frontier because we obviously cannot let that battle take place here on our shores,” he said. “Even though we got Osama bin Laden there are still a lot of people out there who would like to see us destroyed.”

Urban said the 9/11 memorial cost about $3,000 to put on and has been paid for in full by sponsors.

He said it is good to see that businesses pitched in despite the rough economy.

“I think they recognize the importance of having a ceremony,” Urban said.

The guest speaker at the event will be retired Chaplain of the Medford Township Police Department, Reverend Jack Koslowsky. Rev. Koslowsky was among the first responders who volunteered to report to lower Manhattan shortly after the collapse of the World Trade Towers. His riveting account of what transpired will serve as the basis for his remarks.

Congressman Jon Runyan will present a flag that was flown over the nation’s capital to Medford Township officials. In addition, a mosaic bench, designed and created by Medford artists Diane Emerson and Suzanne Morgan, will be dedicated to serve as a permanent reminder of the innocent victims lost and those who tried to save them on that fateful day.

The Greater South Jersey Chorus and the Shawnee HS brass ensemble will perform musical selections. In addition, the winner of the recently held poetry contest, Ann Magee of Medford will read her winning poem, “Room to Hope.” Finally, an art exhibit featuring, “America, An Artist’s Reflection” will be on display at the Medford Arts Center in downtown Medford.

The ceremony is open to the public. In the event of inclement weather the location will shift to the Public Safety Building at 4 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Urban said he hopes people don’t forget how important a day like Sept. 11 2001 is.

“Unfortunately as you get away further and further from tragic events such as Pearl Harbor” some lose sight of them, Urban said. “I’m sure there are many many people who have no idea what took place almost 70 years ago and what brought us into World War II.”

“It’s quite possible — although I hope it’s not true in this case — as we get further and further away from Sept. 11, 2001 more and more people will forget the significance of being ready and being vigilant in the face of our enemies,” he said.

Urban also said the measures now in place following the terrorist attack don’t necessarily make him feel safer.

“I don’t think anyone will ever feel secure as a result of what happened on 9/11,” he said. “We’re still being targeted.”


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