Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 16 September 2011 00:00
This year, more people than ever, attended the commemoration of the anniversary of September 11, 2001. This year, the tenth, had two commemorations at the Oyster Bay Waterfront on Saturday, Sept. 10. The first was at the 9/11 Memorial on West End Avenue. It was followed by the dedication of the new 9/11 Memorial Garden created by the Atlantic Steamer Fire Department with a piece of steel and concrete from the World Trade Towers.
NYS Senator Carl Marcellino spoke at both ceremonies. He said certain images and dates become engraved in our minds. Among them are Dec. 7, 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor; Nov. 22, 1963 with the assassination of JFK; and now Sept. 11, 2001 – in each case, most Americans remember where they were when they heard the news.
Mr. Marcellino said he was in his office in Oyster Bay when he received a phone call telling him to put on the TV – that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. He said, “It was on every channel. You could see the one tower burning. I could see a second tower. I thought at first it was a reflection and then realized there were two towers that were hit.
“This was obviously an attack. The first could have been an accident.
“At that moment in time we saw pure evil in its rawest form that occurred at that moment. The plane was maliciously aimed to hit people who had done nothing but go to work that morning.”
The senator said, “Every time I see the images I get angry and I want to stay angry. I want to remember what was done to those people.”
He recalled the plane overtaken by passengers in Shanksville and how that prevented it from hitting the Capitol.
“How do you deal with that,” he asked. The Governor Andrew Cuomo said to deal with it with the help of our faith, our family and our friends who keep us going. They put their arms around you and lift your spirits. He said, “That is what we are doing today.” They were giving comfort to the families and friends. The Senator added, “We owe a debt of gratitude to the first responders who went into the burning buildings carrying pounds of gear to protect people they didn’t know.
“As professionals, they knew some would not come out,” he added.
Senator Marcellino said an important thing for us to remember is freedom, what we are fighting for. He said, “This is the best country on the planet. We believe in freedom of rights for everyone, as long as they don’t impact on others.”
Heather Leiser sang Amazing Grace. She had opened the ceremony by singing the Star Spangled Banner, and later she sang God Bless America.
The names of the Oyster Bay innocents were read by the senator and Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas C. Krumpter. Councilman Chris Coschignano and Tierney Longo lighted a candle and placed a bouquet of flowers on the memorial wall.
Words of prayer were offered by the Rev. Jeffrey Prey who gave the invocation; Father Kevin Smith offered a memorial prayer; Pastor John Yenchko said a prayer for our soldiers; and Rev. R. Melograne gave the closing blessing.
Regional Representative for Governor Cuomo Marianela Jordan said, “We are completely with you in your pain. On that beautiful day we saw the darkest part of a human soul. Long Island especially suffered.”
She said you see the greatest spirit, support and comfort the families have been given. She said, “The innocents are with us this week as we relive our tragedy... We feel strong and yet we are fragile.”
Ms. Jordan said Governor Cuomo said, “A decade has passed since that fated day. Our lives have changed forever. Those who were lost stand for what is best in our county. They are still with us as we remember them. With the eyes of the world on us again – let us show our determination.”
Senator Marcellino thanked the Atlantic Steamer Fire Department, the Bayville Fire Department, the East Norwich Fire Department and the Oyster Bay Fire Department No. 1 who all sent volunteers to the WTC site to help in the rescue work.
He invited everyone to walk over to the Atlantic Steamer boathouse for the dedication of the World Trade Center artifact. The fire company’s memorial is dedicated to all those who were lost on September 11, 2001 as it contains a ten-foot piece of steel and concrete from the Twin Towers.
The Oyster Bay Community Band was arranged in the courtyard of the Atlantic Steamer marine facility and played several pieces throughout the ceremony. Members of the Atlantic Steamer, OB Fire Co. No. 1, Bayville, Cold Spring Harbor and East Norwich fire companies stood in a long line behind Chief Ty Jimenez. He thanked Vinnie Aquilino, Mike Fitzgerald, Bob Walles, Sr. and Bob Bagan for their work in helping to create the memorial. He listed the people whose work created the garden including Ireland-Gannon landscape designers; Mario Gallo of Locust Valley Iron Works, and many others.
Chief Jimenez said, “I will never forget that day. 9/11 changed me as a person. I’ll never be the same and I’ll never forget.”
First Assistant Chief Doug Schadler led the Pledge of Allegiance. Heather Leiser sang On Eagle’s Wings.
Senator Marcellino talked again about “that bright sunny day with the beautiful blue sky as people went to work, never thinking for a moment that it would be their last moment of life.”
“It is totally unexplainable,” he added.
The senator spoke of the firefighters who “ran up 100 floors with hundreds of pounds of equipment on their backs. There were professionals. They had to know many would not come out.”
He said they were probably also thinking of their families.
Senator Marcellino said, “We can never forget but we should always remember those who sacrificed themselves for people they didn’t know. What a fantastic testimony to their upbringing and character. They showed the very best people are capable of.”
He also commented on the high alert the country was on because of threats to the country. “Even today they are threatening our lives. trying to darken our tomorrows or the next day – whenever they can,” he said of the reality the country faces now.
The Atlantic Steamer officers were presented with a proclamation by Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas C. Krumpter from Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano for their great service.
Heather Leiser sang the Wind Beneath My Wings and later I Will Remember You. It was amazing how appropriate the songs all were.
Councilwoman Beth Faughnan spoke representing the Town of Oyster Bay Board and Supervisor John Venditto. She said the Town of Oyster Bay lost over 100 residents and thousands have been affected.
Deacon Ted Kolakowski of St. Gertrude’s Church in Bayville invited all the local clerics to join him as they stood in the WTC Memorial Garden for its dedication. A plaque in the garden says: “Like this piece of steel, from the Twin Towers, we will remain strong and remember the rescuers, the family members, friends and all the innocents lost on September 11, 2001.”
As the ceremony ended, everyone was invited into the Marine Facility for the reception. Chief Jimenez thanked Bob Liebold for the refreshments; Stephen Walker director of the Oyster Bay Community Band which played several pieces that garnered applause from the audience. He thanked Tim Wright for the public address system; and “Our brothers in the Bayville, Cold Spring Harbor, East Norwich, Oyster Bay fire departments for attending the service.” He also thanked Anthony DeVota, the bugler.
The Oyster Bay Community Band played God Bless America as their ending offering.