In a moving ceremony held on Sept. 8 at Nassau’s 9/11 Memorial to recognize the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, Nassau Executive Edward Mangano and families of victims gathered as one to remember loved ones who lost their lives in the attacks. Together, 300 residents gave thanks to those who rendered aid at the scene, and remembering those who continue to give their lives from post 9/11 injuries.
Mangano stated, “We gather today to remember those we lost, to read their names aloud and to hold their memory close to our hearts as we recall the beauty and meaning of their lives. It is imperative we commemorate 9/11 by also honoring the bravery and heroism shown by first responders and our service men and women who continue to make sacrifices to secure our freedom and safety. We remember and give thanks to those who did not run from, but ran into danger in order to administer aid to the innocent victims of a cowardly act of terrorism.”
The ceremony in Eisenhower Park began with the Nassau Fire Marshal Color Guard presenting the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance recited by the grandchildren of one of the 9/11 victims, and the Girl Scouts of America Junior Troop #2223 performing the national anthem. Father Kevin Smith, Nassau’s fire chaplain, offered an opening prayer. A reading of the names of the 349 victims who lived in Nassau was delivered aloud by several of the widows, nieces, brothers, sisters, mothers and friends of those killed in the attack. Among the 349 victims, 18 were Nassau firefighters.
A closing prayer from Rabbi Barry Dov Schwartz, chaplain to the Nassau Police Department, was followed by the lighting of memorial candles and a celebration of the Survivor Tree descendant, which is now planted near the memorial. Last year, saplings from the only tree to survive the World Trade Center were planted in Eisenhower Park.
Prior to the ceremony concluding with “Amazing Grace,” which was played by the Nassau Police Department Pipe and Drum Band, Mangano thanked family members and survivors for their strength and dedication to attend the ceremony.
“Sept. 11 will forever be a day when we devote ourselves to remember that freedom is not free,” Mangano stated. “Together, we share the grief of the 349 Nassau County families whose lives were forever changed on the tragic day and we remember their pain. As Americans, we will always stand united. We believe in freedom and democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human life. It is these principles, and our resolve, that will continue to strengthen our great nation.”