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Glen Rock remembers and reflects 20 years later

During the annual 9/11 ceremony residents reflected on the tragedy and the 11 souls lost to the town.


20 years ago, on September 11, 2001, the worst tragedy happened in the United States. Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center Towers (Twin Towers). Our country lost 2,977 people in those crashes.

That night our town came together to help the residents that came home that evening and those who lost a family member. Their actions included bringing water and food to the 2 train stations for those coming home.  

After that day,  several residents came together to make an organization to assist family members of those who died in the terrorist attacks. This organization, G.R.A.C.E. (Glen Rock Assistance Council and Endowment), designed a memorial to honor those lost; this is memorial is located in Veterans’ Park.  There is also a small memorial for those lost on PanAm flight 1033, the Buser family.  

Since 2002, they have hosted a memorial service at 6:30 pm in veterans park at the 9/11 memorial. This memorial is very symbolic of the day and the twin towers. Glen Rock High School Art teacher and department head Ms. Debbie Cella designed the memorial to honor the twin towers and the day’s tragedy.  Some of these features include: 

  • The two towers of the stone stand 110 inches tall, and the radius of the circle made by the floor are 110 inches, both to remind us of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center buildings.
  • The four rectangular granite blocks stand aligned with the four compass points to inspire us to never lose our way, even in dark times.
  • The eleven names etched in the memorial’s stone remind us of those who did not return that day.

Very few towns were able to get a piece of the Twin Towers. Glen Rock was fortunate because a resident, George McFall Jr, wrote a letter on behalf of GRACE to Mayor Bloomberg asking for a piece of the WTC for our memorial. Bloomberg granted the request because of our high per capital loss.

Photo by: Diane Hirschberg

This year G.R.A.C.E added a series of new stones engraved with a small part of the story placed in the path. Per Councilman and GRACE Trustee Jon Cole, they created these stones so that people would not forget the history of the day and the memorial. They were revealed tonight with GRACE trustees Lenora Benjamin and Diane Hirschberg cutting the ribbon.  

In addition, GRACE had the quote
on the memorial’s base
filled with black paint, so it is easier to read.

This memorial stands in witness to those who left that morning and who did not return are not forgotten.” Photo By GRACE









Mayor Kristine Morieko reflected on this date 20 years ago by asking, “On this 20th anniversary, I submit to you two questions. (1) Do you remember what weighed heavily on your mind on Monday, September 10, 2001? What were the cares and concerns you fell asleep with?  I refer to this as “the Before

(2) Do you remember Tuesday, September 11, 2001?  The sky was clear, the commute into NYC was unremarkable and within 2 hours, everything upended.  Darkness descended we were forever changed.  For those who came home, we struggled to accept what we saw, felt.  What we could smell.  We battled conflicting feelings of guilt and gratitude.  For the families of the victims, their battles were waiting for an update, for a confirmation, then came planning memorials, and facing an unknown, uncertain, and unfair future.”

This spoke volumes to many residents that made them reflect that their worries before 9/11 were “minor” compared to life after 9/11. 


The GRPD also donated a flag to the 9/11 memorial to honor those lost.

After Carol Knapp read the names of the 11 lost, Trustee and Glen Rocks OEM Deputy Coordinator Joanne Perry read family memories of each of the 11 victims. 

Paul Andrew Acquaviva, “ A single word that we can think of, to sum up, Paul is love.” He learned that an uneventful day spent with his children, wife, and friends was better than any of the best days in the office.”

Grace Alegre-Cua, “She always knew what to say to make you laugh when you needed it the most.” She always made time for everyone, even if that means less time for herself.”

Sean Caton, “ He was the guy we all wanted to be friends with.” “He always surrounded himself with people he loved in the places he loved.”

Anthony Dionisio, Jr., “He was the family babysitter for his 3 nieces and 3 nephews. His greatest love was his 11-year-old daughter, and they were inseparable.” 

Brendan Dolan, “He loved his life at home in Glen Rock flipping burgers and jumping in the pool with his 2 daughters,” He told his brother, forget business, you don’t get it yet. Work won’t bring you the satisfaction that you have from a family. “ 

Timothy J. Finnerty, “Best word to describe Timothy: is Passionate.” 

Joseph Francis Holland III, “He had a serious side about being a father. His son, Joseph Holland IV, was born 10 days before 9/11; he cut the umbilical cord in the delivery room. He could not wait to pass out cigars.” 

Damian Meehan, “He had 2 beautiful children. We will never forget his radiant smile, contagious laugh, and love of life.”

David Robert Meyer, “He has been missed by everyone that knew him. He raised his 3 girls to be strong and live life to the fullest. “ Thank you, Glen Rock and GRACE, for keeping his memory alive and supporting us through the years. Thank you to all of our neighbors and their support.”

Richard Morgan, “Dick was responding to the WTC and trying to reach electrical substation and help the firefighters navigate the electrical substation.”

Daniel M. Van Laere, “Born and raised in Glen Rock, his hero was a neighbor who was a volunteer firefighter. “We grew up seeing Bobby Barton running off to fires all the time” At 18, Daniel Van Laere became a Glen Rock firefighter. 

This year’s ceremony included music by the GRHS choir lead by Music Teacher Carl Helder. In addition, Dan Fontana wrote and performed his songs “Two Candles in the Sky” and “running to the fire”.

G.R.A.C.E trustees:

Diane Hirschberg, Pam Wollack, Joanne Perry, Carol Knapp, Lenora Benjamin, and Jon Cole.




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