Eleven years ago today, hundreds of Long Islanders came to Point Lookout Beach in the wake of the terrorist attacks and looked to the west where the majestic Twin Towers once stood. Since that date, Supervisor Kate Murray has invited residents back to this powerful seaside location for an annual 9/11 Memorial Service. This year, an interactive program facilitates a connection between the victims of September 11th and those attending the ceremony. Specifically, by writing the names of victims and other appropriate messages on a “Heroes of 9/11 Panorama,” neighbors are keeping alive the legacy of love created by those who perished at Ground Zero.
Today, Supervisor Murray hosted the town’s 11th annual, interactive 9/11 Memorial Service – the largest ceremony on Long Island – joined by families of the victims, reverend clergy, firefighters and the brother of Stephen Siller, a heroic firefighter whose story of running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to reach the burning Twin Towers is a touching example of the bravery and selflessness exhibited that morning by firefighters, police, rescue workers and the common citizen.
“This morning, we remember those Americans who were killed on that fateful day 11 years ago, honoring their memory and the legacy they left behind,” stated Murray. “Today is also an opportunity to reflect, pay tribute and honor the heroes who died that day. It is also an appropriate occasion to celebrate the legacy of love left to us by the victims of the terrorist attacks.”
Searching for the words to describe how Americans have responded to the events of 9/11, Murray quoted the great humanitarian, Mother Teresa, who stated: “Good works are links that form a chain of love.” The first links were those forged by the rescue workers who helped people on the morning of 9/11, Murray said, and the chain remains strong eleven years later thanks to the ongoing philanthropic work being done by the citizens of Hempstead Town.
“The saddest moment in this nation’s history elicited the very essence of what unites us as a people. Profound and selfless acts of bravery, compassion and caring were in evidence juxtaposed to one of the most banal acts in the history of mankind,” said Murray. “Eleven years later, the chain first formed by those acts of bravery, compassion and caring were carried on by the families of the victims, who have dedicated their lives to ensuring that those of their friends and family are never forgotten, forging powerful links in our now unbreakable chain of love.”
This morning, on the sands of Point Lookout Beach, thousands of Hempstead Town residents formed yet another link in the chain by taking part in the town’s interactive 9/11 memorial program. Residents wrote messages, prayers and names of 9/11 victims on the town’s 35-foot long mural of the New York City skyline, set beside a 15-foot tall shadow box image of the Twin Towers. Participants also cast white carnations into a reflecting pool, located at the base of a 30-foot piece of steel from the World Trade Center. A viewing bridge traversed the pool and beam.
Murray thanked the many community leaders and organizations who participated in this year’s program, including the Levittown, Point Lookout-Lido, Woodmere, Lakeview, Seaford and Rockville Centre Fire Departments, which erected American flag arches. And, the Gregorian Consortium of Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale performed musical selections during the service. Dee’s Nursery of Oceanside, Stop & Shop Supermarkets, the Salvation Army and Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology sponsored this event.
Inspiring words were offered by Russell Siller, the brother of firefighter Stephen Siller, who was killed responding to the attack on the Twin Towers; Father Douglas R. Arcoleo, of Our Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church in Freeport; Rabbi Kenneth Hain, of Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence; and the Reverend Eric Mallete, of the Greater Second Baptist Church in Freeport.
“I am proud to stand with the families of the victims of 9/11, reverend clergy, firefighters and our patriotic residents as we continue to forge links in our unbreakable chain of love, eleven years later,” concluded Murray. “Today, we let the world know that our chain remains strong, and that the terrorists of 9/11 have not captured the soul of our people or destroyed the will of our nation.”