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South Brooklyn to host multiple 9/11 memorial events

BY VICTOR PORCELLI

On September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked commercial jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center, Brooklyn residents were among uniformed service member, first responders and financial sector victims.

Now, 18 years after the horrific attack, Brooklyn residents will hold a host of memorials for those who died on that terrible day.

At 10 p.m. on Friday Sept. 6, the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton will hold its annual 9/11 Commemorative Memorial Ceremony. Fort Hamilton is the only active military base in New York City. Its ceremony often includes a moment of silence and a bugle performance of “Retreat.” 

The Night Before Candlelight Ceremony will take place at MCU Park’s Wall of Remembrance at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10. The wall is engraved with images of 346 firefighters, 37 Port Authority officers, 23 New York City police officers, three New York State officers, one member of the New York Fire Patrol and one rescue dog. This year, the ceremony will use electric candles and will have Fire Department chaplains present.

“It’s hard to realize that it’s been 18 years since 9/11,” Sol Moglen, honorary deputy chief with the FDNY and founder of the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance, told this paper. “This is the 18th anniversary, and a lot of the families don’t feel comfortable going down to Ground Zero because it’s a very sad place. But in Coney Island, at the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance, they come to celebrate them and that’s the nice part: we’ve made it a celebration.”

Those interested can meet at the memorial at 1904 Surf Ave. at 7 p.m.

On Sept. 11 itself, Brooklyn State Sen. Andrew Gounardes will be continuing the tradition of his predecessor, Marty Golden, by holding two vigils: one in Marine Park and one in Bay Ridge.

First, the senator will mark the anniversary at Marine Park in front of the Carmine Carro Community Center at 6 p.m. A second vigil will be held at the 69th Street Pier on Bay Ridge Avenue and Shore Road at 7:30 p.m. Both include a candle-lighting.

“Our community comes together each year to mark the events of September 11,” Gounardes said. “Together, we mourn those we lost on that day, and recommit ourselves to keeping their memories alive. As the years pass, it remains essential to remember and reflect on the events of that day and how it forever shaped our lives, our city, and our nation.”

Also on the 11th, the Brooklyn/Bedford Park 9/11 Memorial Committee will host a candlelit vigil at Bill Brown Park from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“We were created because we felt, as just regular people, that we can’t let people forget,” Tina Gray, a member of the committee, explained. “So, one day out of the year, the handball court is given to us by the Parks Department and we remember the people that we lost and we honor the first responders in our area, just to let them know that we appreciate everything they do.”

Attendees will meet at the handball court on the corner of Avenue X and Bedford Avenue. The court is home to a mural painted by Brooklynite Ray Fiore after he spent three days volunteering at Ground Zero. It includes the names of over 400 South Brooklyn residents lost in the attacks as well as a painting of the American flag.

On Sept. 11, at the Memorial Square in Brooklyn’s Asser Levy Park, the September 11 Family Group will hold its Commemoration Ceremony at 4 p.m. This year’s ceremony is dedicated to the 18th anniversary of the tragedy, and will include candle-lighting, a laying-the-flowers ceremony, a Color Guard presentation and speeches from 9/11 family members, major supporters of the memorial and clergy. The September 11 Family Group is a nonprofit organization that unites families of the victims.

At 8 a.m. on the 11th, Assumption Roman Catholic Church, 55 Cranberry St., will hold its Mass of Remembrance for the firemen from the Engine Co. 205/Hook and Ladder 118 firehouse on Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights. All eight firefighters who were on duty the day of the attacks lost their lives. While administering last rites to victims, Fr. Mychal Judge, a Franciscan priest, was also killed. The mass will also honor Fr. Judge.

The Brooklyn Heights Interfaith Clergy Association will hold its annual evening prayer service on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The event will take place at Montague Street, on the 11th, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Also in Brooklyn Heights, the Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St., will mark the anniversary with a screening, in real time, of Wolfgange Staehle’s work, “2001,” a visual recording of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Staehle had set up cameras in Brooklyn to record a day in the life of New York City; instead, they recorded the attacks and their aftermath. The screening will begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue till 7 p.m. Following the screening, there will be a discussion, beginning at 7 p.m., moderated by Jessica Chen, senior director of public and professional programs at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, with a panel of writers, Garrett Graff, Giannina Braschi and Lorem Ipsum.

In Dyker Heights, St. Ephrem’s Church at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Bay Ridge Parkway will also hold its annual ceremony, in which participants will attend a Mass before heading outside, where the church has installed a statue of Jesus holding the Twin Towers.

Finally, the 18th Annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5k Run & Walk will take place on Sunday, Sept. 29 beginning at 9:30 a.m. Siller was an FDNY firefighter who died trying to rescue survivors. The run retraces his final footsteps, beginning at the Brooklyn entrance to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and finishing across from the World Trade Center at West and Murray streets. 

The run will be followed by a barbecue and concert; 30,000 participants are expected to attend. The event honors all first responders, and this year will for the first time also include tributes to service men and women killed in the line of duty since 9/11; their faces will be displayed on banners held by ROTC Cadets. For information on participating, go to tunnel2towers.org.

Noah Singer contributed reporting to this article.

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