Cloudy skies and the threat of rain did not stop hundreds of people from attending two solemn ceremonies that took place on Tuesday, Sept. 11 in Bay Ridge and Marine Park to mark the 17 anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
State Sen. Marty Golden organized both events as touching tributes to the nearly 3,000 lives lost when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and hijacked United Flight 93, before passengers heroically took over the cockpit and crashed the plane into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, preventing the pilot from hitting another target.
The first service took place at Carmine Carro Community Center at 3000 Fillmore Ave. at 6 p.m. in Marine Park, followed by another remembrance service at 7:30 p.m. at the American Veterans Memorial Pier, 69th Street and Shore Road.
William Guarinello, chairperson of Brooklyn Remembers, served as master of ceremonies for the 69th Street Pier ceremony. He presided over the presentation of the colors by the New York City Joint Service Color Guard.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Thomas Chin of St. Anselm Boy Scout Troop 13, and the national anthem was performed by Briana Weiner, cantor of Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church.
The opening prayer was delivered by Msgr. Robert Romano, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church and NYPD chaplain, assistant chief.
“I’m very proud to be a part of this community and see people come out tonight to remember and to never forget,” Romano said. “That’s what this day is all about.”
Among those attending the ceremony were Fort Hamilton U.S. Army Garrison commander Col. Andrew Zieseniss, 68th Precinct commanding officer Captain Robert Conwell and City Councilmember Justin Brannan.
Golden recalled the number of lives lost during the attacks including 343 firefighters, 23 police officers, 37 officers for the Port Authority and an additional 182 firefighters that have since died from 9/11 related illnesses.
“We lost a tremendous amount of people from the services and civilians on 9/11, and we’re still losing them till this very day,” Golden said. “I want to thank you for being here and remembering those we have lost and to further strengthen our resolve that we will never, ever forget. America will always come to the aid of those in need and as a nation we will continue to honor the memories of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11.”
Golden spoke about how the country came together in the aftermath of 9/11. “Our strength is our unity and we shall never rest until Americans here and abroad are safe from terrorism,” he said. “Never forget what those terrorists did, but never forget how we responded. Never forget that, regardless of race and creed and color or political affiliation, we are one community. We are united as one.”
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Congregation Mt. Sinai, and Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, both offered moving prayers and reflections.
The Xaverian High School Band presented musical preludes and Weiner also performed “America the Beautiful,” “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “God Bless America,” and closed out the evening with a poignant rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
Zieseniss delivered a keynote speech explaining the importance of this being his first 9/11 service in New York after having attended ceremonies in other parts of the country and around the world.
“Many contend that time heals, and this may be true,” Zieseniss said. “However, I can tell you that time does not allow us to forget. That’s why we stand here 17 years later.
“Seventeen years ago we all became New Yorkers,” he concluded.