Sept. 11 Remembered by Crestwood Village Residents
Event was held in Crestwood Village I's Friendship Hall
For the six years that they've lived in Crestwood Village I, Sept. 11 has provided a time for reflection for Paul and Shirley Innella.
The couple lost their son, Paul, in the 2001 terror attacks. At the time of his death at 33 years old, he worked on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower in New York City.
"There's no healing," Shirley Innella said as she cut up a red, white and blue cake for her fellow Crestwood residents. "It hurts as much today as it did then."
In Friendship Hall Monday night, the eve of the 11th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans, a celebration of the United States was mixed with a remembrance of those lost.
A father who was taken from his daughter not even two years after her birth, Shirley Innella's son lived in East Brunswick and worked as a systems analyst for Cantor Fitzgerald.
"We don't know how he spent the last hour of his life," his mother said.
Paul Innella's company had appointed him as its fire marshal. A proud mother who with her husband lived in Lakewood at the time of the attacks, Shirley Innella said that she believes her son's final moments were spent helping others escape the tower which finally collapsed at 10:28 a.m. after burning for over 100 minutes.
The Crestwood gathering organized by Dorothy Wentworth, president of Village I's Residents' Club, has come to focus on more than just Sept. 11.
"It's being proud to be an American," Shirley Innella said. That was made clear by a hall decorated with the country's flags and colors. Monday night served as a time to reflect — Sept. 11 photos and mementos, including a piece of steel from the World Trade Center site, were on display.
The sacrifices of those currently serving in the military also are not forgotten.
"We pray for them too," Shirley Innella said.
During the about 30-minute program, the service members present were asked to come forward to be honored by the crowd. "God Bless the USA" echoed through the hall. Arthur M. Wright Jr., post commander for the Whiting American Legion Post No. 502 spoke.
"Somehow over the past 11 years, we've carried on," Wright said. "Now after 11 years, we see the triumph of hope over sad."
That hope means moving forward, Wright said.
"We can say that Sept. 12 is another day. It will give us a fresh start and a new beginning," he said.
While her pain may never subside, Shirley Innella's neighbors in Whiting — a community whose members served in the Vietnam and Korean wars and who know hardship — have helped.
"The people here have been great," she said.
For more Patch remembrances of Sept. 11, please see: