Burlington County to remember 9/11 with public ceremony

Event will acknowledge seven residents of area who died that day

Burlington County will mark 20 years since 9/11 with a public ceremony Saturday outside the Burlington County Emergency Services Training center in Westampton, where two pieces of steel from the fallen World Trade Center towers are on display. 

Organized by the Burlington County Commissioners; the Department of Public Safety;  and chiefs of police, fire and EMS, the 11 a.m. ceremony will feature a bag pipe processional, wreath laying and the reading of the names and biographies of seven victims who resided in or had strong ties to the county, according to a press release. 

Seating will be limited and the event will also feature keynote addresses from two Burlington County first responders. 

Phyllis Worrell, Virtua Health emergency management coordinator, was among  volunteers who assisted with search-and-rescue operations at ground zero in New York City immediately after the 2001 attacks. She now serves as the health-care coordinator for the Burlington County Office of Emergency Management and also headed operations at the county’s vaccination mega-site, helping get more than 390,000 doses of COVID 9 vaccines into the arms of area residents. 

“Phyllis Worrell has been on the front lines of our county’s COVID-19 response and was incredibly instrumental to the mega-site’s tremendous success,” said Dan O’Connell, Burlington County Commissioner deputy director, by email. 

Also set to speak is New Jersey State Police Major Frederick Fife, a former FBI agent who led multiple counter-terrorism operations. He is currently deputy branch commander of Investigations for the state police command staff, where he leads statewide intelligence operations, investigations and forensics.

“Both [speakers] are fantastic selections, and we’re lucky to have them,” O’Connell said. 

The ceremony was first created by the county last year, when many in person ceremonies were canceled or moved online due to COVID.

“We want to encourage all Burlington County residents to attend our service or any of the others being held,” O’Connell noted. “If you can’t find time to attend in person, at least take a moment during the day to reflect on the anniversary and what it means to our country.”

Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson asked in a statement for residents to keep the victims’ families in their thoughts: “For them the anniversary can be particularly painful.”

“We as a nation have a responsibility to memorialize these events and share our recollections from that day, so that current and future generations understand their importance,” O’Connell said.