Mayor Jim Avena led a moving Sept. 11 morning ceremony at Manorhaven Village Hall to commemorate the 2,977 who died 18 years ago in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks and in attacks on the Pentagon and on United Airlines flight 93. Nine residents of the Port Washington area and 56 North Hempstead Town residents died that day. More than 100 people attended the ceremony.
Among the attendees were local government officials, fire department, EMT and police department members, two Nassau County policemen on horses, and members of VFW Post 1819, the American Legion and the Marine Corps League. Michael Tedeschi played bagpipes, the VFW’s John Chalker, Cliff Cotten and Tug Oran performed a rifle salute, the VFW’s John Sabatino played “Taps.” Fire chief Thomas Golden led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Avena’s granddaughter Ella Rowe sang “The National Anthem.” Sister Kathy Somerville gave the invocation. Rabbi Alyssa Mendelson Graf supplied the benediction.
A bell was struck nine times as the names were read of the area dead from the attacks. Avena noted that the village’s 9-11 memorial garden features a piece of steel from the WTC and the quotation “American spirit always prevails.” Several speakers said their lasting memory of 9-11 is the heroism of the first responders who searched for victims’ remains.
Town supervisor Judi Bosworth said the audience was there to “show our solidarity as a community and as a nation…Let us remember them in our hearts and our prayers.” State senator Anna Kaplan said she remembered Sept. 12, 2001 when America “started to build up again – and we’re still building.” State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso compared 9-11 to the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, saying, “it also is a day that will live in infamy.”
Rabbi Graf, who said she was a rabbinical student in Lower Manhattan on 9-11, said “I remember the smell of New York City, the smoke…the grief that was felt throughout the city and our country. I carry it with me today.” She urged the crowd to pray for survivors haunted by the tragedy and for “those who have died trying to save others.” The crowd stood for Tedeschi’s moving closing bagpipe hymn.