Bucks County community hit hard by 9/11 remembers lives lost

Tim Jimenez
September 11, 2019 - 7:33 am
Garden of Reflection in Lower Makefield Township

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio


UPDATED: 11:44 a.m.

LOWER MAKEFIELD TWP., Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — On the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, many from the Philadelphia area gathered at the Bucks County memorial dedicated to the lives lost that day and the lives changed forever since.

The Garden of Reflection in Lower Makefield is the official Pennsylvania memorial for the victims of the attack. Crews arrived before sunrise to set up chairs and a podium for the 8:30 a.m. ceremony, where the names of the 18 Bucks County victims were read out loud. In front of their families. In front of strangers, people they would never know.

Nine of them were from Lower Makefield alone. So, this is a community that was hit hard, and many of the family members of the local victims come here each year to participate in the ceremony.

Veteran KYW Newsradio reporter and anchor Frank Traynor recalls starting his commute to Manhattan on a beautiful September morning. But the day abruptly turned dark, as he jumped into action reporting on the destruction of the World Trade Center, at the time working for Bloomberg.

And on his birthday, no less.

Much has been said about never forgetting what happened on that day. Judi Reiss knows that better than most.

"I can still remember moment by moment that morning," Reiss said Wednesday moirning at the Garden of Reflection. "I remember getting a phone call, being told to turn on the television, and I can remember the actual fear and horror that I felt."

Judi's son Joshua was on the 105th floor in the north tower of the World Trade Center. 

She says she remembers not only the horror of what happened to her son, but also the people who wrapped their arms around her family.

"As the day went on, people came to my home, and I guess over the time I realized what a wonderful, wonderful community I live in," she said.

Five floors below was Michael Bane from Yardley

Michael's wife Tara says this day never gets any easier but all she can do is think about who her husband was and the time they shared together.

"None of us want to remember our loved ones on that day, what happened to them. We want to remember their life."

Joshua's sister Jennifer, who was 11 when he died, says the eight other 9/11 families in Lower Makefield have all been there for each other.

"And we are our own little club that you never want to be part of, but we’re stuck in," Jennifer said.

"And many of you may not know, we meet often during the year. We have become part of each other’s families," said her mother Judi.

Many were at Jennifer's wedding this past May. And in a way, she believes, so was her brother Josh.

"I can tell you he was in that room."