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The Town Of North Hempstead Never Forgets

Commemoration of 9-11 held at Clark Botanic Garden

In the quiet, lovely, lush Clark Botanic Garden, nestled in a corner of Albertson on I.U. Willets Road, under the supervision of John Darcy, North Hempstead Town elected officials and residents joined together to commemorate the 11th anniversary of 9-11, when so many people perished due to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the hijacked United Airlines Flight No. 93 that crashed near Shanksville, PA.

The day was eerily like that horrible day 11 years ago. It was a Tuesday, possibly one of the most beautiful September days of the entire year.

The memorial ceremony was under the direction of Town of North Hempstead Town Clerk Leslie Gross. Gross prefaced her remarks by saying that a few weeks ago, former North Hempstead Town Supervisor May Newburger called her to say she didn’t think she would make it at this year’s commemoration. Gross said, “This place was carved out in the town for this memorial by then supervisor Newburger, so we thank her and know that she is with us in spirit.”

Gross continued,  “Our assumptions about the meaning of our life were terribly shaken that morning. How can 11 years have passed so quickly and despite the passing of 11 years, it feels like only yesterday. We will never look at a firefighter or a police officer the same way. We will never forget where we were on that September morning. Our faith and our capacity for human kindness was lifted by the courage of those people, who instead of running away ran into the smoke of those burning buildings.

“We grieved as a community for those heroes as the bagpipes sounded for those who were lost. The melody of those bagpipes echoed the grief that each of us felt in our own hearts and now that sound has become part of our collective memory. It is a testament that so many people are here this morning to the goodness in all of us and we have to remember the goodness in all of us amid the worst disaster in American history.”

Gross continued, “So we come together today as a community to support, to reflect and to be committed for another year to always, always remember.”

The Albertson American Legion then posted the colors for the event, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by North Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman.

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman then spoke about the devastating effect of 9-11 on the town and the loss that was suffered and that the town lost 61 people on that day.

Kaiman said, “We take this opportunity to thank Town Clerk Leslie Gross and all those who put together this beautiful ceremony. We also thank those who are serving in our armed forces who continue to serve. We thank those in our own community who are here. There are thousands and thousands of people in our town who will take a moment to go to ceremonies and to reflect and remember to appreciate the fact that something horrific happened more than a decade ago.

“We understand that it is important for us to come together to remember because we as a people have changed. Our community has changed. We look around here and in this community we saw it, we lived it. Hundreds of people in our neighborhood died. Our firefighters were first responders and they were there. We commemorate something that was not in miles of way. We look at this piece of steel that was in one of the buildings that collapsed that we once drove by on a regular basis. We find ways to serve because we want our community to be better, we don’t forget the past, we look upon the best. It is so important, because there are folks out there who are inhuman, who still believe that the way to make a statement is to destroy, to maim and to kill children, who use people to kill other people to make a statement. We as a nation have been a beacon as to how to grow a country and we do that by growing a community.

That is the story of America and that is the story of that piece of steel. So let me say simply, God bless all those who perished and their families and God bless America. ”

“The councilpersons at the event then came to the podium and read the names of those in their communities who perished on 9-11, which was very moving.

The ceremony was interspersed with various musical interludes performed by the Multicultural Peace Mission, the Long Island Conservatory and then ended with 12-year-old Corey McCluskey who performed a bagpipe solo.