CONEY ISLAND — Remembering and celebrating the fallen.
The 10th Annual The Night Before Ceremony at the Wall of Remembrance outside MCU Park at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10 where over 100 attendees paid tribute to the 417 names engraved on the commemorative area, including members from the FDNY, NYPD, New York State officers, a member of the New York Fire Patrol and a rescue dog, who lost their lives due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001
The founder of the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance Sol Moglen, who is also the honorary deputy chief with the FDNY, discussed the emotional night.
“The reason we do this is a lot of families don’t want to go down to Ground Zero because it is a sad place and what we do in Brooklyn is we make it a celebration and we come here and we celebrate them so it’s not a sad place anymore,” he explained. It’s a celebration of their life.I gave out 125 electric candles last night so we had a nice turnout between FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority. Each year We give them a sheet each year called we remember them and we remember them the four seasons of the year.”
The night also featured a surprise guest.
We had a special guest last night come in Jim Fossil,” he said of the former New York Giants head coach. “Over the years, he has given over $1 million to different 9/11 situations including over $50,000 for our foundation and building the wall and maintaining it. He’s been a great supporter as has Gary Sinise.
Moglen stated the reason the 9/11 Night Before program is, “because it’s much easier for families to deal with it the next day after they’ve been to the wall on the 10th.”
Throughout the 10 years, different attendees show up each year , such as chaplains from the NYPD and FDNY. It also gives families of the fallen a forum to speak about their loved ones.
A lot of families get up and talk,” he said. “The Haskell family lost two sons. Their brother, who is also a fireman, was there and spoke about the good times he had with his brothers,” he said.
Of the 417 names on the wall, 177 are from Brooklyn.
“The original concept was honoring brooklyn alone,” Moglen explained. “We raised the money with no city state or federal funds. All privately done. We raised over half a million dollars.”
The organization also hosts first responder night at the ballpark in July.
The cause of creating a place other than the World Trade Center to remember those lost a loved one on 9/11.
“I did it because I spent the first 50 years of my life in brooklyn and I wanted to find out how many firefighters we lost that day when i found out i knew i had to do something,” he said. “It’s a place where people can come for free and remember and celebrate.”