On Sunday, May 5, the annual interfaith celebration and mass was held outside MCU Park in Coney Island at the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance. The service was dedicated to members of the FDNY and NYPD who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001.
The Wall of Remembrance at the ballpark is made of three 30 x 12-foot high granite walls that contain the laser-engraved images of 346 FDNY firefighters, 37 Port Authority officers, 23 NYPD officers, three New York State officers, one fire patrol member, first responders and a K-9 rescue dog named Sirius, all of whom lost their lives during September 11 and many of whom were from Brooklyn.
The mass was conducted by FDNY Chaplain Msgr. John Delendick and NYPD Chaplain Msgr. Robert Romano.
Brooklyn-born and raised Sol Moglen conceived of the idea for the wall.
“The nice thing is that we were able to do this without any city, state or federal funds but just with the help of supporters like Gary Sinise, Jon Voight and Peter Max as well as firehouses across the country,” Moglen told this paper.
There were members of 180 families in attendance at the mass including Wei Tang Liu and Xiu Yan Li, the parents of Wenjian Liu, the 32-year-old police officer who was gunned down in the line of duty while in his squad car in 2015.
“The important thing is that Brooklyn never forget,” said Moglen. “It’s hard to believe that it’s the 18th anniversary of 9/11 coming up this September. Even though it was raining yesterday, for the families who attended, we gave them sunshine. The families were very happy to share the experience with their loved ones who are on the wall.”
Two FDNY first responders, brothers John and Joseph Vigiano, who lost their lives on 9/11, were remembered by their mother Jean Vigiano who attended the mass.
The Torch of Honor Award was presented to NYPD Officer Eric Castigliola from the 60th Precinct in Coney Island, who refers to himself as the “Caretaker of the Wall.”
Moglen said that the next memorial event will take place on July 12 on First Responders Night at MCU. “We’ll have bagpipers, a Fire Department ceremonial unit and 36 firefighter probies carrying a large American flag onto the field. At the end of the day, it’s all about honoring 9/11 families,” added Moglen.