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HFD, Community Holds 9/11 Commemorations

More than 200 firefighters, residents pay respects to fallen friends

Hicksville Fire Department Chief Christopher Moskos, alongside upward of 125 firefighters, followed the sounds of the New York Metro Pipe Band early morning on Saturday, Sept. 9 to Hicksville Fire Department’s Strong Street Fire Station Memorial.

While hauntingly beautiful, the mournful sound of bagpipes respectfully lent itself to the somber mood of what the ceremonies were all about. Once in formation, the chief called the detail to order and summoned the presentation of the Color Guard, which was made up of 11 American flags (once for each of the passing years accompanied by the FDNY/MIA flag). The members were led in the Pledge of Allegiance by their Sergeant-At-Arms, Honorary Chief Nick Brigandi, and remained in position during the National Anthem as program coordinator, Ex-Chief Karl Schweitzer, opened the ceremonies.

“As the 11th anniversary of these terrorist acts is observed here today and all over the country on Tuesday, we all share the feelings that the events of that tragic day must never be forgotten.

“I know that for all of us – and in fact, for all Americans – Sept. 11, 2001 forever changed our world. Just as Dec. 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day – defined a generation, Sept. 11 has indelibly shaped who we are, how we live our daily lives and what we believe in,” said Schweitzer.

Opening prayers were offered by Rev. James Stachacz, St. Ignatius Church, and the fire department chaplin, James Kershow. Following the opening prayers, the bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” as the Officers of Citizens Engine Company No. 3 and Emergency Company No. 5 placed the wreaths and saluted during the playing of “Taps” by firefighter Zac DiFronzo and Andrew Niemzcyk.

Schweitzer then led a ball ringing and remembrance of those residents who called Hicksville home and perished during the attacks, including:

- Nancy Bueche: Nancy drafted insurance contracts for Aon Corp on the 102nd floor of Tower Two. Bueche grew up in Richmond Hill and moved to Hicksville after getting married.

- Mark Colaio: Mark worked at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower and was a graduate of Hicksville High School.

- Stephen Colaio: Stephen worked at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower, was a graduate of Hicksville High School and is the brother of Mark.

- Gilbert Granados; Gilbert was a loss-control consultant for Aon Corp on the 98th floor of Tower Two. He also served as a Coast Guard reservist for 20 years and moved to Hicksville while attending the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.

- Steven Policino: Steve was a vice president at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th Floor of the World Trade Center. Steve graduated from Hicksville High School before moving to Plainview.

- Thomas Pedicini: Thomas was an institutional equities broker for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

- Kenneth Rice III: Kenneth was an assistant vice president in the technology department of Marsh & McLennan on the 96th floor of Tower One.

- Brian Terrenzi: Brian was a global network manager at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 101st floor of Tower One. He began his job in the World Trade Center in February 2001.

- Walter Weaver: Walter was a New York City Police Department officer serving in Emergency Services Unit Truck No. 3 out of the Bronx. He became a New York City police officer in 1992.

The ex-chief then made note of the two fallen firefighters, George Howard and Terry Farrell – two men with strong ties to the Hicksville community – who perished on Sept. 11.

“Each year we must make it our duty to never forget all our fallen brothers, including Ex-Chief Terry Farrell and Honorary Chief George Howard. Terry and George we remember you and salute you on this day of remembrance,” said Schweitzer.

Chief Moskos was then brought up to offer some words.

“Let the ceremony provide all of us with a daily reminder to take nothing for granted. Appreciate our freedoms. Count our blessings. Strive to help our fellow man. And cherish our friends and families. Just think about the courage that Terry and George had as they rushed into two burning towers to bring thousands to safety,” said Moskos.

After the community remembrance, the Knights of Columbus, Joseph Barry Council, Deputy Grand Knight Doug Quinn provided the closing prayer. All members then proceeded up the main pathway and saluted at the monument followed by invited guests and members of the community who laid a carnation at foot of memorial all during the soft musical selections.

“Let us also never forget and continue to honor those that have perished and paid the ultimate sacrifice, serving in the military, defending our freedom since our war on terror began. When you see a member in uniform, thank them for their commitment, for without their continuing sacrifice we would not be a great country,” Schweitzer closed.