Smith Speaks at 9/11 Remembrance9/11 Memorial Ceremony Held in Colts Neck, NJ
Congressman Chris Smith (NJ04) and other officials commemorated the terrorist attacks 16 years ago today against targets in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania that killed nearly 3,000 people including hundreds of New Jersey residents.
In addition to Smith and other officials, also speaking at a Colts Neck, N.J. commemoration was Theresa Furmato Velardi, whose father, Paul James Furmato, was a sales trader and a Vice-President at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center. She recounted that fateful day when she lost her father and her family was changed forever. She was six years old.
“I remember waking up morning after morning watching my mother fight back her tears and try her best to raise three children on her own,” Velardi said. “I remember waking up every day after the Twin Towers crashed wondering, ‘does this mean Dad is really never coming home?’ I remember being a Girl Scout in Colts Neck and having to skip Father-Daughter Dances because my father was murdered. I remember hoping and praying, even years later, that my Dad would come walking through the door one day and that this was all a really horrible dream. But it wasn’t a dream,” she said. “You never forget the feeling of losing a father. You never forget the pain, the devastation, or the confusion. And it wasn’t just my family. Families from around the country lost loved ones.”
Smith recounted the bravery of New Jersey’s own Todd Beamer and other passengers who attacked the terrorists on board Flight 93 that crashed in a Pennsylvania field to preclude another jet from being used as a missile, and other unforgettable moments of the infamous day.
“Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing,” said Smith, who himself was in Washington chairing a Veteran’s Affairs Committee hearing. “No one remembers the shock, horror and numbing sorrow more, however, than the families and close friends of the victims.”
“Who can forget the courageous first responders running up the stairs of burning buildings—with total disregard for their own safety—saving some at the expense of their own lives?” said Smith, who recounted his own fears from that day when for several hours he couldn’t reach his brother—an American Airlines 757 Captain who often piloted Flight 11 from Logan to LA, the flight that crashed into the North Tower.