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Photos by John Calabrese
Photos by John Calabrese
The view from the 69th Street Pier at the 16th Annual September 11 Memorial.

Bay Ridge will always remember.

Families of fallen heroes, local residents, elected officials from both sides of the aisle, veterans from across the state and more gathered at the American Veterans Memorial Pier at 69th Street on Monday, September 11 to join State Senator Marty Golden as he presented the 16th Annual September 11 Memorial.

Complete with prayer, musical selections and a 21 gun salute by the New York City Recruiting Battalion, the memorial brought both the young and old together in solidarity.

Highlights this year included patriotic performances by Briana Weiner, cantor at Our Lady of Grace; an opening prayer by Monsignor Robert Romano, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe and NYPD chief chaplain; a moving tribute by Monsignor Jaime Gigantiello, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel; and a poem read aloud by a member of Saint Anselm’s Boy Scout Troop 13. The event was again emceed by Bill Guarinello, HeartShare president and CEO, chair of Community Board 11 and former president of the Brooklyn Remembers committee that raised fund for and then brought the 9-11 memorial to the pier.

“Sixteen years ago, we stood on this pier and watched two buildings come tumbling down. We thought it might’ve been the end of the world,” said Romano. “But this is New York City, this is the United States of America, and we are a resilient people.”

Though, Romano added, “As we gather here today, we are mindful of the fact of the many people who died that day here in New York, in Washington and on the fields of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.”

Golden agreed.

“9/11 is still very much alive and here, you will see, just in this audience how many people are here that have lost a loved one, or who are suffering through a loved one [being] sick today,” he said. “We are a great city, a great state and a great community, and we are as great as the people that make up this great city.”

The stock right here in Southern Brooklyn, he added, is “the finest in the world.”

“You showed that on 9/11, you showed that when it came to Texas and Florida and what’s going on down there today,” Golden said, “through your volunteering and your support of these families that need your help. . .We will always come to the aid of those in need.”

His annual events on both the 69th Street Pier and in Marine Park, he added, are “to further strengthen our resiliency that we will never forget.”

“Tonight, on the 16th anniversary, we continue to show terrorists across the globe that, despite their attempts to destroy our great nation, brave Americans stood tall that day and continue to stand tall,” Golden said. “Despite what others want us to believe, we are more united than ever.”

The remembrance concluded with Taps, performed by the Xaverian High School band, followed by “Amazing Grace” as performed by Xaverian High School Pipe and Drums, a closing prayer by Chaplain Major Donald Ehrke, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hamilton and the release of yellow balloons by Bay Ridge resident Kathy Khatari – sister of the late Billy Gormley, a firefighter who died this June as a result of cancer believed to have been contracted while working at Ground Zero.

Khatari was assisted by Troop 13 Boy Scout Nicholas D’Onofrio.

“I thank Senator Golden for continuing to have this event,” lauded the evening’s emcee. “I think it’s very, very important because the healing is a long time. It happens and it’ll happen – God gives us the strength – but it also hurts, so it’s good for us to remember and never forget the ones that we lost.”

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