Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 18 September 2013 00:00
As the night sky fell on Memorial Park last Wednesday, Mineola residents and officials paused to remember the lives (including three from Mineola) that were lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Mayor Scott Strauss, a former NYPD EMS worker and 9/11 first responder, led the ceremony.
Strauss was one of the many who rushed into Manhattan after the attacks, searching the rubble for survivors. He was instrumental in saving the lives of Port Authority police officers Will Jimeno and John McLoughlin.
Strauss praised all those who volunteered in the face of danger. “We had regular everyday people in that rescue helping people out,” he said. “Office workers, coworkers were working hand-in-hand to help.”
Attendees paused to remember Christopher Dunne, 28, John Spataro, 32 and Mitchel Wallace, 34; three Mineola residents who perished on that fateful Tuesday 12 years ago.
“The families of those lost have shown us how to be strong, how to press on in the face of indescribable pain and grief,” Strauss said. “All of them have shown us the strength of the human spirit.”
Dunne and Spataro both worked for insurance firm Marsh & McLennan, while Wallace worked as a court officer of the State Supreme Court.
“We pray for those who perished, the victims of hatred,” said Father Tomaz Gomide of Corpus Christi Church. “We pray for the heroes who gave their lives rescuing or trying to rescue the innocent victims of that terrible tragedy.”
Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, a former nurse who was serving as a New York State Assemblywoman at the time of the attacks, commended first responders for “performing their sacred duty of protecting us, only to perish in burning and crumbling buildings.”
“We gather in solemn remembrance,” she said. “This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life are united in our resolve for justice and peace.”
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano reminded the crowd that many suffer today from conditions stemming from working in the toxic atmosphere at Ground Zero after the attacks.
“The countless first responders...who ran in to help, the many responders who suffer illnesses contracted on that day,” he said, “remember them, honor them and provide support to their friends and families.”
Brother Thomas Cleary of Chaminade High School hoped the plague of violence would inspire a cure. “So many in our world have lost loved ones to terrorism and more,” he said. “May their plight fill us with a longing for peace.”