A steel beam now sits on the second floor of North Hempstead Town Hall in Manhasset, measuring about two feet long, a foot wide and six inches in height.
It was pulled from the Ground Zero site of the September 11 attacks, donated to the town by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2013 and displayed for the first time Friday during a solemn remembrance of the 56 North Hempstead residents who died at the World Trade Center 14 years ago.
The beam — and its accompanying granite plaque that lists the names of each victim — is one of two September 11 memorials planned by the town, the other with a second, much larger beam.
Because of rain the previous night, the town’s morning memorial service was moved from the nearby Mary Jane Davies Park to Town Hall itself, featuring an incovation from Rabbi Anchelle Perl of the Chabad of Mineola and remarks from George Teachey of the First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury and Steven D. Pierce of the Community Reformed Church of Manhasset.
Moments of silence were also offered at 8:46 and 9:03 a.m., in observance of the exact moments that two commercial airliners struck the Twin Towers and killed nearly 3,000 people.
“Even though we did not all suffer the same loss, we all suffered. Even though we did not all feel the same pain, we were all in pain. Even though most of us were fortunate enough to grieve with our loved ones, we all grieved for and with those who lost loved ones,” said Town Clerk Wayne Wink, who served as the event’s master of ceremonies.
“But the evil that men do does not define us,” Wink told the congregation. “Rather, the way we come together, uniting even in those moments of suffering, of pain and grief, is what actually has come to define us. How we came together in the face of this evil and how we persevere in its aftermath truly defines us.”
The service was the first of two hosted in Manhasset Friday, the other a candlelight vigil at the Mary Jane Davies Green sponsored by the Manhasset Clergy Association.
Candles were handed out by the Boy Scouts of Troop 71 of Plandome to the approximately 200 residents who met on the green, joining members of the American Legion Post 304 and Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department.
A massive American flag was suspended from the ladders of two Manhasset-Lakeville fire engines behind the park, providing the backdrop to a service of scripture, hymns and patriotic songs performed by several Manhasset clergymen and the Manhasset High School choir.
North Hempstead’s service began with the presentation of colors by the Albertson Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5253, followed by the performances of “The Star Spangled Banner” and Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American” by Kenyo Baly.
“The world can’t afford spectators,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said during the ceremony, noting the threat of terrorism is still prevalent. “We must stand together to preserve and fight for the ideals of our country that we hold so dear. By doing this, we honor the memories of all who senselessly lost their lives that day. They have not been forgotten.”
North Hempstead council members read aloud the names of victims from their respective communities, and audience members spoke in remembrance of victims.
Manhasset High School student Corey McCluskey also performed a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
When the service concluded, the memorial was unveiled by Manhasset resident Armine Giorgetti, whose husband Steven died in the attacks.
“As you can imagine, a project like this doesn’t happen by itself, but it is the culmination of hard work by many caring people,” Bosworth said.