I want to share some of the thoughts that are going through my mind after the horrendous events of last week. The first wave of rage and fury against the perpetrators, and the organisms that support them, has washed over us, and a period of sober reflections sets in. Much is at stake, cool heads are needed to assess the dangers and futility of hasty actions fueled by a natural desire for revenge and retaliation. Far reaching decisions will have to be made by our elected officials who, we must hope, have the vision and wisdom to select the right strategy for dealing with this global cancer - terrorism. It is not a time for unilateral action, it requires the cooperation and support of all countries affected, some of whom not our natural allies. It is also a time for our national leaders to reflect on where past policies might have contributed to the growth of this global cancer.
We as individuals have the task to combat prejudice and mindless discrimination against people in our midst who have nothing to do with terrorism but happen to have been born in countries that produced or harbor suspected terrorists. Americans are known for their generosity of spirit and actions. Such qualities have made our's the most desirable country to be living in. Prejudice and hatred would corrode what distinguishes us from the evil forces that wish to destroy us. Each of us has the choice between playing a positive or negative role in this changing, polarized world.
No doubt, there are families in our area that have been directly or indirectly affected by this tragedy. Our hearts go out to those who have suffered the loss of family members or friends, or are in other ways affected by recent events. The hardships and loss of lives suffered by the heroic rescue and demolition teams should never be forgotten, and they are continuing with their perilous work. September 11 has shown us how close to the edge we are living, even in this, the "most powerful nation on earth." It is a time to reassess our values and priorities.
I am beginning to think that Oyster Bay is "The little town with the big heart." During the last few emotional weeks I have seen the best come out in all the people of our little corner of the world. I had written on Sept. 12 that I was back home safe and sound in my Oyster Bay, and I am prouder than ever to be a part of this community.
The caring and the giving demonstrated by our residents has shown what a wonderful place our town is. Many people donated food, supplies, and money to help in the rebuilding of NYC. There was a candlelight vigil held to remember all the victims of this tragedy. The Stars and Stripes are seen everywhere. And, again, all of you should be proud of your fire department.
Donnie Cembrale and Jerry Aylward taking a break from the arduous task of being on a bucket brigade.
The OBFC #1 sent in another crew to ground zero to help with the difficult task of search and recovery. The crew spent from 5:30 a.m. last Friday to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, helping in this gruesome, emotional task. Our Firefighters helped by digging in the rubble, forming one of the bucket brigades we have all seen on TV, and searching for victims. Making up this crew of Firefighters was: 1st Asst. Chief Ed McEvoy, Jr., 2nd Asst. Chief Anthony DeCarolis, Lieutenant Charles Minicozzi, Captain Frank Mantegari, Jr., Jerry Aylward, Craig Barber, James Cammarata, Donnie Cembrale, Michael Delcolle, Ex-Chief William Ferris, Kris Kilgour, Bryan Mediate, Ken Minicozzi, Steve Minicozzi, Steve O'Neill, Tom Rahilly, Jr., Douglas Schadler, John Wendelken, Ex-Chief Frank Mantegari, Sr., and Chief Roy Gier, Jr.
People know that our lives here have been changed forever. I would like to think that at the end of this long sad journey that the newest member of our FD, Morgan Elizabeth Minicozzi (month old daughter of Tina and Lieutenant Charles Minicozzi) will find this a happy, peaceful world to live in. How else could it be when you will start out your life in Oyster Bay?
Michael R. Scheck, #978, OBFC #1, The Light Blue Brigade