By Timothy Rider
Public Affairs Office
PICATINNY ARSENAL, NJ -- Representatives of the Picatinny community gathered on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for a solemn wreath ceremony near the Visitor Center to commemorate the attacks and the sacrifices made by American service members during the 11 years that followed the attacks.
The wreath was placed by Brig. Gen. Jonathan Maddux, Picatinny Arsenal Commanding General, and Command Sgt. Maj. Rosalba Dumont-Carrion, Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Command Sergeant Major. It was placed at a memorial marker dedicated to service members from New Jersey who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the Global War on Terror.
The wreath was placed at 9:37 a.m., the time when United Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Several feet from the GWOT Memorial Marker are three red oak memorial trees for New Jersey Sailors, Cmdr. Robert E. Dolan, Cmdr. Patrick Dunn and Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph J. Pycior, Jr., who died in the Pentagon attack. Also several feet away is a red oak tree memorial for Sgt. Steven D. Checo, the first New Jersey Soldier to die in Afghanistan. Checo died on Dec. 21, 2002 from gunshot wounds received during a firefight in Ivo Shkin, Afghanistan.
Thousands of Americans died as a result of two aircraft attacks that caused the collapse of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York City, the aircraft attack on the Pentagon, and the downing of United Airlines Flight 93 into a field in Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001.
Thousands of military members also died while defending our nation in the years after the attacks.
Throughout Picatinny Arsenal, 159 additional red oak tree memorials have been dedicated for New Jersey service members who have died in overseas operations since Sept. 11, 2001. After the wreath was placed, "Taps" was played by Tony Ramirez of American Legion Post 309, Denville, N.J.
"This simple but poignant ceremony shows that we remember the great sacrifices that our service members have made as they have served their nation since 9/11," said Maddux.
"It is important that we publicly express our gratitude for all they have done to defend our nation."