Superintendent Dr. Herman Sirois addresses those in attendance at the memorial walk.
Hundreds of local residents attended the illuminated walk on the evening of Nov. 27 to honor and remember those community members who lost their lives on Sept. 11 and to recognize the heroic efforts of uniformed services and citizens. The event was coordinated by the Levittown Board of Education and the School District as a whole, who said that since the devastating events of Sept. 11, the Levittown community has exhibited an exemplary spirit of caring and that too many families have suffered overwhelming pain and they feel their deep sense of loss.
Residents, their families and friends gathered at the Levittown Memorial Education Center (LMEC) that evening with flashlights and candles to partake in an approximately one mile long walk to "illuminate" a path to a better tomorrow. At the end of the walk, which concluded back at LMEC, a permanent plaque was unveiled to stand as a memorial to those who died as a result of the tragedy. The area around the plaque was closed off prior to the start of the ceremony, and families of the victims were the first ones invited to gather closer to the memorial.
"Levittown was created as America's first suburban community, in a place outside the busy city. A quiet place, a safe place to raise a family. A place where hard working Americans can enjoy the fruits of their labors. A community created by America's heroes, at the turn of WWII. A community built on a strong foundation of American ideals," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Herman Sirois. "Over the years, these ideals have endured in Levittown and our community has matured and grown strong. The events of Sept. 11 have tested the spirit of every community throughout the New York City area and I believe throughout the entire country. The residents of Levittown have responded as a strong, unified community, banding together to support neighbors and friends who have had loved ones taken from them in this tragedy. The Levittown community has certainly risen to this challenge, just look around at your neighbors."
Dr.Sirois acknowledged the efforts of both New York City and local uniformed services, as several of them joined the community that evening. The superintendent thanked them for coming and for everything that they do to make everybody's lives safe, every day.
"Many of our neighbors who were taken from us on Sept. 11 were firefighters, police officers and EMS [workers]," Dr. Sirois said. "On that day, these brave people did what they had done every other day. They risked their lives trying to save the lives of others. Other neighbors taken from us on Sept. 11 were just ordinary citizens, working people who got up that morning and went to work in Manhattan, so that their families could enjoy their lives in Levittown. Victims or heroes or both, the dreams and ideals of these hardworking neighbors of ours must not be forgotten or forsaken."
Dr.Sirois added that the community has shown exemplary strength in these hard times and a strong responsibility to friends and neighbors.
"In Levittown, we share a commitment as a community to help those affected by the tragedy of Sept. 11, to illuminate a path to better times, to once again laugh and enjoy the lives that their loved ones worked so hard to provide for them," he said. "The permanent garden and plaque installed at this flagpole commemorates our fallen neighbors and will always remind us of our commitment to our families, to each other and to our fine community."
The permanent memorial will certainly serve as a reminder of all those who risked their lives and lost their lives as a result of trying to help their friends, neighbors, or complete strangers. Residents in the community left the event looking to enter a future of better times, and as the plaque reads, "May the light of our loved ones triumph over the shadow of hatred."