September 11, 2020 Observance
By Jennifer Ersalesi
On September 11, 2020, there was a special memorial service for the Rutherford residents who were victims of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The following individuals were honored: Port Authority Officer Maurice Barry, John Crowe, Ronnie Breitweiser, Tim Finnerty, John Griffin, and Port Authority Police Officer Paul Laszczysnki. This year’s service was different from those in the past since all participants had to wear masks and social distance. The entire service was recorded and posted to the Borough’s website later that afternoon to enable access to residents and family members of the fallen.
Mayor Frank Nunziato welcomed all that were in attendance and asked Chief John Russo to lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton and Post Commander Bob Hansen of American Legion 109 also spoke about their memories of that awful day nineteen years ago.
Reverend Peter Wilkinson from the First Presbyterian Church and Reverend Karen from Grace Episcopal Church lead prayers for all the families and friends of those lost on September 11, 2001.
Patrick O’Neill, retired Bayonne Officer and one of the members of the Rutherford Irish Association played “Amazing Grace” before Councilman Mark Goldsack, Councilman Stephanie McGowan, Councilwoman Maria Begg-Roberson, Councilman Ray Guzman, Mayor Frank Nunziato, and Councilman Ed Narucki spoke about each of the men lost on that day.
Amy Laszczynski, daughter of Port Authority Police Officer Paul Laszczysnki, told TIR about her father who lost his life working as a first responder that day, "9/11/01 was obviously our darkest day. As each year passes we can’t help but wonder what our father would be like as he got older, what new hobbies he would have, and what an awesome grandfather he would be. His life was taken at just 49 years old. He was a Port Authority Police officer and on the PAPD Emergency Services Unit as well. His unit was dispatched immediately to the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 and bought hundreds of people to safety that day. Sadly, he did not make it out. It was (and still is) an extremely painful and unbearable time for our family. As young girls growing up in town, my sister Jennifer and I played Rutherford Recreation softball and he would attend every game he could if he wasn’t working. We would also play and practice in our yard for hours. Some of my best memories. Our biggest cheerleader and biggest critic only to help us play better and teach us well. I find myself acting just like him while attending our daughter’s games! He has 4 grandchildren, Samantha, 11 and Daphne, 5 who live in town and Jackson, 9 and Lily, 6 who live in Wayne. They definitely share his characteristics and even resemble him in some ways. Can’t help but wish he could have met them, attended all their games, and been their biggest cheerleader too."
The bagpipes played “America” and “God Bless America” before Councilman Tom Mullahey thanked all that attended and participated in the observance. Councilman Mullahey also thanked the Ambulance Corps, Fire Departments, Police Department, DPW, and the Bergen County Sheriff Department.
For more information on those honored during this observance, click here.