It was a solemn ceremony at Fort Hamilton Army Base in Bay Ridge, in remembrance of the 2,977 lives lost during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
On Friday, Sept. 7, Fort Hamilton, the only active-duty military post in New York City, held a stately tribute upon the 17th anniversary of the attacks. The ceremony took place in front of the flagpole at the Army base community club.
Trevor Loew, chief, Business Recreation Division at U.S. Army, served as master of ceremonies. He welcomed officers and elected officials, including state Sen. Marty Golden, Assemblymember Peter Abbate and City Councilmember Justin Brannan, to the commemoration.
Following the presentation of the colors, Fort Hamilton Garrison Chaplain Bruce Duty delivered the invocation. “On 9/11 we remember images we wish we had never seen, we remember words we wish we’d never heard, and God, we remember our own feelings of emptiness as our sense of security and our confidence was shaken,” Duty said. “We remember the heroism of those who lost their lives while saving others. We remember all who suffered and died and their families and friends.”
Fort Hamilton Army Garrison Commander Col. Andrew Zieseniss thanked all guests for attending. Zieseniss personalized the service by remembering heroic individuals who lost their lives on 9/11.
“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.” He concluded by adding, “Seventeen years ago we all became New Yorkers.”
The keynote speaker for the event was Lieutenant Col. Patricia JonesJohnson, commander of the New York Military Processing Station. She spoke about how the events of 9/11 brought about a strong sense of unity across the nation.
“We weren’t Jewish-American, we weren’t Irish-American, we weren’t Italian-American, we weren’t Asian-American, we weren’t African-American, we weren’t Arab-American, we were Americans,” JonesJohnson said.
The wreath laying ceremony included the parents of Kris Robert Hughes, a young man who lost his life during the attacks. Robert and Elaine Hughes attended the service in memory of their son.
“Each year we attend an event,” Robert told this paper, “We might go to the trade center or we might go to the Nassau County 9/11 Memorial. Two years ago we came here and we were invited to come back again this year. We’re happy to do it and support the military.”
“Obviously this day has tremendous meaning for a lot of us,” Zieseniss told this paper. “I’m glad that the Hughes family could join us.”
The Joint Task Force Empire Shield Honor Guard presented a 21-gun salute which was followed by Taps by the West Point Quintet. The ceremony concluded with a benediction and “God Bless America” by the FDNY Bagpipers.