Floral Park remembers local 9/11 victims on 18th anniversary

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Members of the Floral Park Volunteer Fire Department laid roses on the relic steel beam statue that sits outside Floral Park Village Hall.(Photo by Tom McCarthy)

Few words were spoken on Wednesday at Floral Park’s commemoration of the local lives lost in the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11.

“I’d like to thank everyone for coming out this morning,” Deputy Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald said. “Pause. Reflect. Remember on this very solemn day.”

The ceremony’s opening prayer was provided by the Rev. Piotr Rozek of St. Hedwig’s Church.

The United Methodist Church’s bells rang twice during the ceremony. The first time was at 8:46 a.m., when the North Tower was struck, and the second at 9:03 a.m., when the South Tower was struck.

Floral Park’s annual remembrance is held in front of a relic from the World Trade Center buildings that were destroyed by two hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001. The twisted steel beam is anchored in a stone pedestal bearing the names of the 11 village residents killed in the attacks.

Members of the Floral Park Volunteer Fire Department laid roses on the steel beam statue outside Floral Park Village Hall. The statue was dedicated to the 11 residents in October 2011.

Their names were read by village trustees as each firefighter approached the relic after the first bell ring.

The statue bears these names: Keith Fairben, Ryan D. Fitzgerald, Howard Gelling, Thomas Hetzel, Robert G. King Jr., Ronald P. Klopper, Brian Magee, Charles Mendez, Robert M. Regan, Michelle Bratton and Billy Dean.

The Rev. Thomas Fusco, a pastor from Our Lady of Victory, blessed the relic at the end of the ceremony and conducted the closing prayer.

“May this monument remind us always of the tremendous sacrifices of that day,” Fusco said. “Heart of understanding we seek your light and guidance and light as we continue to heal.”

Musical interludes were performed by the Holy Spirit Church Choir. “Amazing Grace” was performed by Floral Park bagpiper David Kraft. The opening “National Anthem” and closing “God Bless America” were performed by Floral Park resident Katie Hayes.

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