9/11 ceremony held at Ielpi Firefighters Park

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Members of the Great Neck Fire, Police Department, and EMTs gather at Firefighter Park to honor those who served on 9/11 (Photo by Rob Pelaez)

At 8:42 a.m. on Wednesday, a roof siren from the Vigilant Fire Company in Great Neck went off to signify when Flight 175 was hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Our actions in the aftermath of this tragedy sent a clear message, that you could knock us down, but we wouldn’t stay down,” said Joshua Charry, chief of the Vigilant Fire Company.

Members of the Great Neck fire, police and EMT departments stood in solidarity on Wednesday morning to honor those who served during the attacks.

The ceremony took place at Jonathan L. Ielpi Firefighters Park in Great Neck Plaza.  Ielpi’s life was among the many lost on that day 18 years ago.

“We remember Jon as a father, husband, brother, son, friend, firefighter and consummate prankster,” said Charry.

Ielpi’s memory is also kept intact by his #16 high school hockey jersey being hung from the Saddle Rock Bridge, where the view of the city skyline is straight ahead.

Charry spoke of  the losses that have continued to mount, which includes losing 22 members of the Fire Department of New York  to 9/11-related cancer, as well as members of the city Police Department.

Decorated firefighters Ray Platskis Jr. and Thomas J. Madigan were two of the local losses the community has had in this past year.

“We continue to face the challenge, to make sure all the lives lost that day are not forgotten in the midst of time,” Charry stated.

Charry also touched upon ways for the community to “never forget,” and mentioned the Carlos Lillo Foundation.  The foundation’s mission is to provide scholarships to students in paramedic school.

Lillo was a first responder EMT who was killed in the attacks.

Charry concluded the ceremony by saying, “We cannot, we must not, and we will not ever forget.”

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