On Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of men, women and children lost their lives in an act of terrorism, 746 of them from New Jersey alone, second only to the number of lives lost in New York.
And 10 years later, Bridgewater Township held its annual memorial Sunday to remember the six residents who died that day, and honor the service men and women who led rescue efforts after the attacks.
"We acknowledge the great loss their families and loved ones deal with on a day-to-day basis," Bridgewater Township Mayor Patricia Flannery said during the ceremony. "We remember that they died in our place because they were Americans and for no other reason."
The ceremony included the placing of a wreath at the township's 9/11 memorial, and a moment of silence at 1 p.m. in conjunction with a national moment of silence also at that time.
In attendance were members of the township council; Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7th; Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman, R-16th; Somerset County Freeholder Patrick Scaglione; members of the Bridgewater Township Police Department; members of all township fire companies and rescue squads; and other dignitaries.
"We gather also to remember the courageous members of the emergency services, fire, rescue and police who willingly put themselves in harm's way on that day as they do throughout their careers to save the lives of their fellow citizens," Flannery said.
Lance spoke about moving forward and overcoming terrorism over the years, emphasizing that the country has made some progress thus far, and will continue to make more in the future.
"The deceased were casualties of a war to the same extent as any person serving on the battlefield," he said. "But the terrorists made no distinction between members of the armed forces and civilians. They killed their victims at will."
Lance also presented the township with a flag that has been flown over the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
"I present to you on behalf of the Congress of the United States a flag that has flown over our nation's capital, and Mayor Flannery, may you fly it with pride here in Bridgewater Township in honor of these serious ceremonies today, as we are united today in Bridgewater Township, in Somerset County, across New Jersey and indeed across the nation in the hope and prayer we are never struck again," he said, "in the hope and prayer for those who lost their lives and their families. And in recognition that we have the privilege of living in the greatest country in the history of the world."
Several families who lost loved one in the attacks were on hand at the ceremony, and assisted in placing the wreath by the memorial.
Jane Skrzyniarz, of Bridgewater, lost her brother, Thomas Polhemus, in the North Tower.
"He was only there for four weeks on assignment, on the 94th floor of the North Tower," she said.
"We miss our brother, he was a part of our lives," said Skrzyniarz's sister, Dot McGrath.
Their father, Harold Polhemus, said he has attended Bridgewater's ceremonies every year.
"It is a very good ceremony, and this was 10 years ago to the day," he said. "Every minute of every day we remember."