EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (WABC) -- They said a big "thank you" in New Jersey Wednesday to the first responders who selflessly answer the call for help.
The American Dream Mall provided a day of tributes and remembrances for all who protect our communities, both the fallen and those still serving.
Those honored included the families of Augusto "Augie" Acabou and Wayne "Bear" Brooks, the two firefighters who lost their lives during the container ship fire at Port Newark on July 5th.
"I'm so grateful," said Wayne Brooks' widow, Michele Brooks. "All the support is absolutely overwhelming. But to hear the pipe band brings me back to sitting in the church, and all the emotions come out."
"We're very grateful for everybody's support through these difficult times," said John Acabou.
"It's not going to bring him back. It's nice that they are both honored," said Marlie Acabou.
Honored as well on Wednesday were the New Jersey state troopers who successfully rescued two Clifton firefighters from a raging river.
The state troopers' families were among those enjoying the waterpark.
So there were smiles and hugs and plenty of happy kids.
But for the Brooks and Acabou families, it was a only brief respite. They are still waiting for answers about why their loved ones had to die.
"He went in there to put out a fire to save materialistic things," said Michele Brooks, "not a person, not a human being - materialistic things. And he never came home. So I have a lot of questions."
"We're not going to know anything for, they say, like a year, so it's hard," said Marlie Acabou. "You know, we want answers."
"Accountability," said John Acabou. "People need to be accountable for decisions that were made."
And they are desperately pressing for changes in procedure and training.
"I just don't want this to happen ever again to another family and suffer the way we did," said Mike Acabou. "Because we're going to always suffer. We're never going to stop suffering."
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News