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The Oyster Bay 9/11 Memorial Is a Place to Remember Loved Ones

It was a beautiful day, reminiscent of September 11, 2001 the moment in time that was being memorialized as Oyster Bay held its 6th annual ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial on West End Avenue on the Western Waterfront. It was fitting that members of the Atlantic Steamer Fire Company stood at the left of the monument, and at the right, the presenters, New York Senator Carl Marcellino, the Rev. Peter Casparian of Christ Church; and Rev. Jeffrey Prey of the First Presbyterian Church. Seated in front with the guests were Co-Pastors Diane and Ray Melograne of the North Shore Assembly of God.

Senator Marcellino thanked his staff members, Kathy Wilson and Charlotte Longo who worked on the details of the morning and had planned the all-inclusive event. He said all of Oyster Bay clergy were invited to attend but Rabbi Marvin Demant of the Oyster Bay Jewish Center was involved in Rosh Hashana; and Father Kevin Murphy too, had other commitments for the day. The parish of St. Dominic’s unveiled a statue of La Pieta by Michelangelo for their 9/11 memorial garden on Sunday, Sept. 12. The Oyster Bay Fire Company were involved in a fire call said the senator.

Senator Marcellino said that day, Friday, Sept. 10 was as blue, bright, and sunny as the day they were recalling. “We’ll always remember that clearest of skies. In the midst of all that beauty we saw the worst of what misguided and malicious human beings are capable of and on the same day we saw the first responders who met the worst with his or her best, there to protect their friends and neighbors. They stood for the best of America. We all pay witness as we memorialize the day, Sept. 11, as a national day of service and remembrance.”

Senator Marcellino illuminated the pain of the deaths as he spoke of the individual losses experienced by parents, spouses and children by taking them down to the personal losses. He said the wives who lost their husbands; the children who lost a parent; and parents who lost their children.

Mr. Marcellino said the response of all the people who volunteered to help after the collapse of the Twin Towers was an indication of the spirit of America and what it means to be an American. He ended by saying, “God bless our troops… This is the greatest country in the world.”

He introduced Town Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia who said, “This is a day for memories and reflection for all of us to see what is important. Nothing will alleviate the pain we all feel.” Assemblyman Michael Montesano said he had great respect for the responders, the police and firemen who protect us in our daily lives and when we come under attack. He said, “We must always be vigilant.”

Senator Marcellino and Ms. Alesia read off the names of the people listed on the memorial: Joshua Todd Aaron, Timothy Byrne, Christopher Ciafardini, Peter Victor Genco, Brooke Alexandra Jackman, Joseph A. Kelly, Thomas A. Mahon, Bernard E. Patterson, Laurence Poolatsch, Bart J. Ruggiere, Jonathan S. Ryan, Francis John Sadocha, John “Pepe” Salerno, Adriane V. Scibetta, Christopher Paul Slattery, Michael Taddonio, Daniel P. Trant, Joshua S. Vitale, and Andrew Steven Zucker - and all the innocents who died on September 11, 2010, concluded the senator.

Two candles at the base of the memorial were lighted with the help of ex-chief Frank Ozol and Bob Walles, ASFC director; and Tierney Longo placed a bouquet of flowers there. Earlier the Rev. Jeffrey Prey of First Presbyterian Church had given the opening blessing, now Rev. Peter Casparian gave the blessing of the memorial. After a moment of silence Joan Petrella sang Amazing Grace. “That is possibly my favorite hymn,” said the senator.

The senator invited everyone to the reception following hosted by the Atlantic Steamer Fire Company in their Water Rescue Building.

Senator Marcellino reminisced about the formation of the Western Waterfront with help from then Governor George Pataki and Supervisor John Venditto and his town work force. “I consider it my finest achievement – with the help of NYS Governor Pataki and Supervisor John Venditto and his manpower,’ he said.

The closing blessing was given by the Rev. Ray Melograne of the North Shore Assembly of God.

Inside the Atlantic Steamer Water Rescue building there were tables covered with white tablecloths, and coffee, tea and an assortment of cakes and cookies for the reception. People sat at the tables and chatted about the event.

This year was a very different ceremony as compared to last year when it was raining and it was held indoors. The guests got to see the inside of “J” building with its gaps and leaks that needed repairing before it would get its Certificate of Occupancy.

At the reception this year, Michelle Gee commented on the interior of the Water Rescue Building, half of which held the boats and trailers for water rescue. “It’s so nice here, right next to the water,” she said.

“Senator Marcellino presented a nice program,” said James Gee and Michelle added, “It was very moving.”

Bonnie Ferris, wife of Oyster Bay Fire Chief William Ferris - who was chief of the Oyster Bay Fire Company No. 1 at the time of September 11 - sat at the table. Ms. Ferris said she knew the Papa family and Eddie Papa one of those listed on the memorial, from ice skating lessons her child was taking. “I know his wife, Patty Papa,” she said.

Bonnie Ferris remembered September 11, 2010. She said she remembered hearing that the third plane had crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, near where her child was attending college. She said, “You feel your children are safe in Pennsylvania and then you don’t know where you are safe. I went to Shanksville a number of years ago to see their memorial. They have benches with the names of the people on them.”

Shanksville came to international attention during the September 11, 2001 attacks when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed nearby as the passengers fought with the terrorists for control of the hijacked plane.