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Southern Brooklyn remembers 9/11

On September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks shook the nation to its core. Twelve years later, family, friends and loved ones of over 3,000 victims are coming together within their communities to remember and honor those lost on that awful day.

Brooklyn joins communities around the city and the tri-state region in hosting their own ceremonies to pay tribute to hometown heroes. These anniversary observances commemorate all those affected by 9/11 and span the days leading up to the red-letter day.


Before 9/11

The community is invited to come together in  faith and remembrance at Saint Ephrem’s Garden of Hope, a 9/11 memorial complete with beautiful blooming buds and a statue of the twin towers embraced by Christ, the Good Shepherd. On Saturday, September 7 during the church’s 5 p.m. mass, parishioners will gather in the garden to honor the tragedy’s heroes and their presence within the community – and the parish.

“It’s something very comforting because I commemorate this day with my faith community,” said Mary Jane LaVache, a member of the Saint Ephrem family who lost her mother, Maria LaVache, on 9/11. “It signifies what we all believe the devastation was met with: that terrible day, those victims were met by the comfort of our God.”

LaVache hopes that the statue, as well as the 10 surrounding plaques honoring nine parishioners lost and all other victims will give those still reeling a source of comfort and inspiration.

The brief prayer service will begin in the green of the garden, continue inside the church and end with a laying of bouquets at the foot of the memorial.

On Monday, September 9, State Senator Marty Golden will host a free screening of “9/11 An American Requiem” at 6 p.m. at the Cort Club in Gerritsen Beach. Those gathering in remembrance and dedication will also be met by the WTC Health Program, offering important information on free health care for fearless volunteers and responders as well as Victim Compensation Fund applications.

“As we approach the anniversary of September 11, we must remember those who work tirelessly in the weeks and months following these attacks,” said Golden.

On the final evening before the anniversary, MCU Park welcomes family, friends and patriots to “The Night Before,” an annual candlelight ceremony at MCU Park’s Wall of Remembrance, a graceful life-size tribute to those lives lost on that tragic day.

The Wall of Remembrance, made up of three 30 x 12 foot granite walls, contains the laser-engraved images of 346 firefighters, 37 Port Authority officers, 23 New York City police officers, three New York State officers, one member of the fire Patrol, first responders  and one K-9 Rescue dog named Sirius.

Those interested can meet at the memorial, located at 1904 Surf Ave., at 7:30 p.m.


On 9/11

Heartfelt commemorations will take place boroughwide on this 12th anniversary.

On September 11, families and friends can make their way to Fort Hamilton for Colonel Eluyn Gines and Command Sergeant Major Hector A. Prince’s 9/11 Commemorative Memorial Ceremony at 3 p.m. at Garrison Headquarters Building 113.

Later that evening, Brooklynites can come together to pay their respects at 6 p.m. at Marine Park. The observance will take place closest to the 3000 Fillmore Avenue at Marine Parkway entrance.

The Brooklyn/Bedford Park 9/11 Memorial committee invites the community to bring a chair, a candle and their most precious memories to Bill Brown Park at Avenue X and Bedford Avenue. At 6:30 p.m., the committee will host their annual remembrance, rain or shine, at the mural at the handball court.

Every September 11, the park’s year-round handball court becomes the community’s very own 9/11 memorial as commemorators admire the space’s artwork, painted by Brooklynite Ray Fiore after three life-changing days volunteering at Ground Zero.

The mural, painted red with the stripes of the flag, now bears the names of over 400 southern Brooklyn residents lost in the attacks.

“On that day [September 11] it is our memorial for those we lost,” explained Tina Gray, a member of the Brooklyn Bedford Park 9/11 memorial committee.

At 7:30 p.m., Ridgeites will welcome a ceremony led by Golden, overlooking the water at the American Veteran’s Memorial Pier at 69th Street and Shore Road, where many area residents gathered on September 11, 2001, to watch in horror as the twin towers fell. The ceremony, in the shadow of the 9/11 memorial erected at the pier to honor residents of southwest Brooklyn who perished that day, always draws a large crowd.

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