Faith in God is the alternative to fear, the Rev. Carlos Wilton told about 350 people in park in Point Beach on Sunday night, the 10th anniversary of terrorist attacks that lodged fear in so many Americans.
, pastor of on the corner of Bay and Forman avenues in Point Beach, said he was going to read from Psalm 46 because it had a relevant message about how to deal with fear.
"This has meaning for all three Abrahamic religiions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, because it has to do with fear," he said. "We are not at our best when we have fear."
The psalm described a world with "mountains trembling" and "kingdoms tottering," but where "God is our refuge and strength."
After the ceremony, Wilton said, "I get concerned about the whipping up of fears" by society and the media.
"We have to take comfort in the fact that God is with us in good times and bad," he said. "Like Psalm 46 says, 'God is our refuge and our strength.' That's where our ability to not be afraid comes from."
The Rev. Scott Bostwick, pastor of on Bridge Avenue in Bay Head, also led prayers and reflections during the ceremony.
He prayed for the Sept. 11th victims and the emergency responders on Sept. 11th, as well as those serving locally.
"Let's pray for a day when we don't make war any longer," he said.
Afterwards, he said a ceremony like the one on Sunday night provides hope.
"This isn't just about grief and remembrance, but also looking forward and hoping we don't need to fear and hate, but that we can move forward."
One of the thousands of families across the country trying to move forward is that of Fred V. Morrone, who lived in Point Beach for many years before moving to Lakewood, not too long before Sept. 11.
He was superintendent of the 1,300 member Port Authority police department and was also a retired state trooper.
He had been in Jersey City on Sept. 11th, but rushed to the World Trade Center when he heard about the terrorist attacks.
Morrone, 63, died in one of the towers.
Former Mayor Thomas Vogel spoke about how he had known Morrone and his family.
"I went to school with his children," said Vogel. "You knew when Fred said something, he meant it and you respected that."
He then read a statement written by Morrone's son, Hutch, that said, "My father died trying to help others. He went into a burning and dilapidated building. I tried to call him because I knew he would be running to help. Like other police, the call to duty overrode the natural flight reaction."
The letter also asked that the community give its local first responders the "gratitude and respect that they deserve."
Lauren Capriglione, 17, a senior, shared her thoughts about Sept. 11th, starting with how grateful she and her family had been that her father had made it out of the World Trade Center safely on Sept. 11th.
She said her father's job prompted a move to Qatar, where they lived for three years. When the anniversary of Sept. 11th would come up each year, her new friends were sympathetic.
"I remember the compassion and sorrow from my Arab friends," she said. Then her father had to go to Iraq for a year for his job and the rest of the family moved to Point Beach.
"We found a place where we finally could settle," she said, adding that the warmth and friendliness of Point Beach students and residents made her and her family feel at home.
"Be accepting and embracing of others," she said.
The Point Beach High School Band performed during the ceremony, which was opened by the Color Honor Guard from Brick Township.
The Point Beach Fire Department was in full force and displaying a mammoth American flag, hanging from two aerial ladder trucks, in the parking lot next to the park.
The volunteer firefighters had displayed the giant flag at numerous funerals of New York City firefighters,
Mayor Vincent Barrella thanked the members of the committee who planned the event, including former mayor and former fire chief Vogel, who chaired the committee.
Barrella also thanked other committee members including Point Beach Business Administrator Christine Riehl, School District Business Administrator Brian Savage, Point Beach Police Sgt. Joseph Michigan, the Rev. John Helm, pastor of on River Avenue and McLean in Point Beach, Wilton; and US Navy veteran and VFW Post 4715 Adjutant Vincent Castin.
The mayor also thanked the local fire, first aid, police and public works departments for their ongoing service to the community.
Barrella then read a proclamation from Gov. Christie declaring Sept. 11 as Patriot Day and Day of Remembrance in New Jersey in honor of those lost and first responders and others who helped and sacrificed.