Hundreds of residents honored the sacrifice of policemen, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians at the annual Public Servants mass at the Church of the Annunciation Wednesday.
Attendees also honored the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks 12 years ago.
Seven Wayne residents died in the attack on the World Trade Center: Robert Deraney, Jean Caviasco DePalma, Daniel Afflitto, Paul Acquaviva, Barry Glick, Leo Roberts, and Gregg John Froehner.
“It’s been 12 years but we have not forgotten you and we will never forget. All of our lives changed that day. Some changed a lot, some changed a little,” Mayor Chris Vergano said. “To all of our fire fighters, police officers, and Emergency Medical Service Personnel on behalf of our town I say thank you.”
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno reminded those in attendance that the heroic men and women who died that day were more than just first responders.
“Every single one of those uniformed officers who ran into those buildings when everyone else ran out is a teacher,” Guadagno said.
Guadagno also said that although they were afraid, they believed in something greater than fear. They believed in saving people’s lives.
“You have taught us how to be a part of something bigger than ourselves,” Guadagno said.
Dozens of first responders from Wayne, Haeldon, North Haledon, and the William Paterson University Police Department attended the mass.
Msgr. Peter Doody said that those in uniform protect and love everyone by serving others.
“You protect us under the authority of Christ. We need to thank our public servants for what they do daily,” Doody said. “You save lives, you protect us, and you show us love.”