PARAMUS, N.J. — The Police Pipes and Drums of Bergen County's rendition of "God Bless America" echoed throughout Paramus as civilians, law enforcement officials and veterans made their way from the library to Howland Memorial Grove in the 9th Annual Paramus Freedom Walk.
The event, which honors the seven Paramus residents who lost their lives 15 years ago in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has one other important purpose, County Executive Jim Tedesco said: "Never forget."
"While it's been 15 years it feels like yesterday," Tedesco told Daily Voice. "Doing events like this, where the community comes together, is so important."
The annual event was first spearheaded by Paramus native Joey Rizzolo, 21. He and the five other group members returned from college again this year for the 15th anniversary of the attacks.
"These guys are doing an outstanding job of keeping thier memory alive," Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg told Daily Voice. "Somebody has to do that and they do a great job."
This year, the walk culminated in a bench-donation at the Howland Memorial Grove.
"This is a walk for freedom, for peace and a walk to honor our first responders and military veterans," Tedesco added. "That's what makes this special and unique.
"I couldn't be more proud of a young, middle school man, and to be a small part of it."