by Alan Asarch, Manager, Licensing and Content Development, Business Wire
Located in Bergen County New Jersey, The Ramsey Wind Symphony is one of the region’s most established wind groups. Celebrating its 26th Season, the Symphony consists of volunteer participants from all walks of life who love to play and perform music. Every year, the Symphony holds several concerts for the community, and is invited to participate in seasonal community events.
Since the events of September 11, 2001, the Borough of Ramsey conducts memorial services for the three local residents whose lives were lost on that tragic day. The Ramsey Wind Symphony provides patriotic and solemn musical interludes as part of the 9/11 Memorial Services, as community leaders speak and those we lost on that tragic day are remembered.
On the 10th anniversary of September 11, Ramsey held its memorial ceremony in a remote, peaceful, tree-lined area of Finch Park, which will soon include a beautiful, permanent memorial in remembrance of the 3 residents. The families who lost loved ones were invited back to participate in the groundbreaking of the memorial. Only two of the three came.
Also in attendance were the mayor and councilman of Ramsey, and many members of the Police and Fire Departments of Ramsey. In front of one of the firefighters stood a bell, which would ring three times, once for each person the town lost on that fateful day.
Prior to the groundbreaking, the Symphony played patriotic interludes in a somber, rather than celebratory, tone. The families were invited to light candles in remembrance of their loved ones.
For the first time, I saw with my own eyes families of the victims of that fateful day: A mother and father who lost a son, and a wife and her children who lost a husband and father. We all watch the 9/11 ceremonies on television and hear the roll call of names of loved ones who were lost. Seeing it on television does not have the same impact as observing it in person. I looked into their eyes as they sat in the front row, stood for the playing of The Star Spangled Banner, and walked to light their candles. In their eyes, I see straight through to the holes in their hearts that will never be filled and the pain that will never completely heal. My eyes fill with tears desperately wanting to be shed.
As the ceremony reached its conclusion, the Mayor thanked the Symphony for participating in the service. The applause was warm, yet unnecessary. More surprisingly, the families honored on this late Summer day stood for us as they applauded. It should be the other way around–the Symphony stands for those families, applauds them, and honors them for their strength and courage.
I walked to the banner that displays the design of the new memorial. I wanted to speak to the families and look closer into their eyes, offer a simple, thoughtful handshake, and let them know that I share their sadness, even though I was fortunate enough to not lose a loved one on September 11, 2001. I saw them stare at the model of the memorial, envisioning the names of their loved ones on it, which will be permanently displayed for everyone to see and never forget. And they deserved to spend this time alone in thought.
Even though I did not speak with the families, I know that the Ramsey Wind Symphony’s participation in the ceremony gave them solace from unimaginable sorrow. I am honored and grateful to be a part of an organization that gives back so much to its community.
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