BELMAR, NJ - In keeping with our nation's many demonstrations of solemn tribute to the victims of September 11, 2001, locally over 300 runners/joggers/walkers, some bicyclists, with hand flags for men and stem roses for women participated in the eleventh annual non-competitive 9/11 Memorial Run organized by the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), at the Belmar-Spring Lake boardwalk on Tuesday evening under clear skies, reminiscent of the tragic day. Included in that number of were eleven cadets from the Monmouth County Police Academy and four members of the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) of Wall High School.
The proceedings began at 6 p.m. with Belmar's Tim Mahoney, the Run director, standing aloft, thanking all for coming and also a special few who helped him in his director’s tasks. He then asked for a moment of silence for all our servicemen present and past who are making and have made it possible for us to have a memorial event such as this. Then the participants, starting with Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty, began reading aloud with a hand microphone the name, age and town, from a typed list, each of the 147 Monmouth County residents who died on that tragic day. Each passed the list to another so as to get as many as possible to read aloud at least one name. Then Mahoney with the Stars and Stripes flag pole in hand led the silent, non-talking pack on their southward trek.
They briefly stopped at the Memorial Park adjacent to Lake Como that had a flagpole with the Stars and Stripes at half mast. Here the Spring Lake Police Association had donated a plaque, dedicated September 11, 2004, set in stone, with this message: "We the people of Spring Lake remember our residents and neighbors who lost their lives in terrorist attacks against the United States of America."
On the Plaque:
Shanksville, PA: Donald A. Petersen, Jean Petersen.
World Trade Center : Richard E. Bosco, Thomas F. Hughes, Jr., Paul H. Keating, James J. McAlary Jr., James T. Murphy, Robert W. O'Shea, Donald W. Robertson, Jr.
Here the mourners resumed reading aloud another third of the names from the list of 147 and half placed their hand flags and roses at the plaque.
They then continued their absolutely-silent run/jog/walk/cycle on the boardwalk to the destination point, in past years at the Spring Lake/Sea Girt border but this year because of continued boardwalk repair at the beach gazebo near Washington Avenue approximately a one-mile distance. There a piece of the World Trade Center, donated by Eddie Lennon, friend of Mahoney, had been placed on the sand and the mourners gathered around it and finished reading the names from the list.
Mahoney then offered the still very silent group an opportunity to sound aloud any name that was not on that list who also was a victim on September 11, 2001. About 30 names were heard. The song God Bless America was started by someone and eventually all joined in. If a choirmaster would not have been impressed by the sound he/she heard, its total sincerity would have been noticed. Mahoney spoke briefly about his recent experience at the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero, and how he had felt a kinship to the many names read at this annual memorial run. Mahoney again thanked all for coming and asked them to give themselves a round of applause. Had someone suggested giving Mahoney applause, many hands would be hurting from clapping.
The group then placed the remaining flags and flowers at the World Trade Center piece and “resumed” their Memorial Run/Jog/Walk/Cycle and returned to the starting area at their own pace with talking now permitted. Lake Como's popular restaurant Bar Anticipation was the new destination point where a barbecue had been arranged.
The theme of the Memorial Run as stated by Mahoney at the 6 p.m. start is to “Run, Remember, Reflect and Resume.” The Run is obvious since the idea was created by Mahoney and Bob Both who are members of the JSRC and regulars on the club’s Thursday night runs in that same boardwalk area. The Remember is why the group read the names. Reflect is the reason for the silence (the only sound was the noise of the over 600 running shoes meeting the surface) so that there can be time to think about and concentrate on the tragedy that occurred on 9/11 including reflecting on those poor, innocent souls that had to make that horrible decision to jump to their deaths rather than burn alive. The Resume is in response to that which President Bush had asked the citizens of our beloved America to do: "Resume your lives but never forget.”