By Eden Laikin
In a moving ceremony, held at Nassau’s 9/11 memorial to recognize the 15th Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano urged those gathered to come “together as one Nassau County family to remember the residents who lost their lives that tragic morning.; and to commemorate the day by giving thanks to those who rendered aid at the scene, and remembering those who continue to give their lives from post 9/11 injuries.”
“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,” he said. “It is imperative we commemorate this day 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, yesterday evening at Eisenhower Park, began with the Nassau County Fire Marshal Color Guard Presenting the Colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance recited by the grandchildren of one of the victims, and the Girl Scouts of America Junior Troop #2223 performing the National Anthem. Rabbi Barry Dov Schwartz, Chaplain of the Nassau County Police Department, offered an Opening Prayer.
Then, as it is done each year, a recitation of the names of the 349 victims from Nassau County, read out loud by several of the widows and widowers, nieces, brothers, sisters, mothers and friends of those killed in the attack. Among the 349, were 18 Nassau firefighters.
A closing prayer from Nassau County Fire Chaplain, Father Kevin Smith, was followed by the lighting of the monument’s memorial candles and a celebration of the Survivor Tree at the memorial. Last year, saplings from the only tree to survive the World Trade Center, were planted there.
County Executive Mangano said the tree “continues to grow here, serving as an inspirational symbol of resiliency and hope.”
In closing remarks, he thanked family members and survivors for their strength and dedication to attend the ceremony; and offered his deepest condolences to the people of Nassau County who lost loved ones on 9/11.
“September 11th will forever be a day when we devote ourselves to remember that freedom is not free,” County Executive Mangano said. “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.”
“God bless you, your families, Nassau County and these United States of America,” he said, as the Nassau County Police Department Pipe and Drum Band played “Amazing Grace.”