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Letter: 9/11 Remembered

We all deal with 9/11 differently. We honor those who we lost differently. For me this year I did what I love and photographed the annual Manhasset 9/11 Candlelight Memorial Service. Taking pictures gives me the opportunity to share with my community, giving those who could not be there a chance to share the evening. Capturing moments through photographs brings me joy and I know Meredith would have wanted me to do that which I love. We lost her that day and she would happy to know that our community comes together to remember and for the peace it brings those who attend.   

Yet, we all find peace in our own ways. We show our support and love for others and our country on our own terms.  As I walked around town I saw so many things that just made me think- “Has it been twelve years?” In town, most flags were at half-mast. Up at the Manhasset High School, at the 9/11 Memorial Garden where there were once young plants, they are now mature. The Garden’s bench looks well-worn showing that many have had a chance to sit and contemplate all that life has to offer. The commemorative brass plaques are still shining and standing tall, telling the world that our community remembers.  

Little reminders were easy to see: a faded sign in a store window saying “United We Stand”; a small flag placed in car window; and a friend at Raindew buying American Flags - for what exact purpose, I do not know, but I could see in her eyes she had a plan.

But my day would end as it has for the last twelve years at Mary Jane Davies Park, sharing a few moments with friends and neighbors. For that opportunity, I am grateful for the Manhasset Clergy Association for continuing to hold their annual 9/11 Candlelight Memorial Service, as it gives our community the chance come together and show our love and support to each other. I’m grateful for all men and women in uniform who keep us safe. I am grateful for the huge American Flag proudly hung behind the gazebo by our Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department. I am grateful for the Boy Scouts for diligently handing out candles to help light the evening. But most of all, I am grateful to our community which continues show how kind and generous it is in its spirit of unity.

To those who attended the service, I hope my efforts to photograph the evening did not interfere your search for solace through the ceremony. I, too, was there to remember a loved one. I know Meredith would have loved the service and the pictures I was able take and share with the community.

Mary Jane Whalen