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Oyster Bay Does Remember 9/11

Annual ceremony held at 9/11 Memorial Garden on the Western Waterfront

There is no escaping the reality that September 11 in America is a special day of mourning. This year, again it fell on a blue-skied Tuesday. NYS Senator Carl Marcellino, speaking at the 9/11 Memorial Garden at the Western Waterfront remembered that day in 2001. He said he was in his office watching what he at first thought was a re-run of a plane hitting a tower when he realized that the televised picture included the first tower in flames and then he knew they were seeing history happen live.

“We knew it was live and we clearly understood it was an act of terrorism and an act of evil,” said the senator. Shortly after, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon people died. “There were many victims,” he said. “But many who died, were not victims, they were heroes.”

Senator Marcellino explained, “If you are a professional firefighter or police officer, you know your life is at risk every day. They (the rescuers) knew the fires weren’t going to be extinguished. They were going in to save people, as the buildings came down around them.”

He said at that one moment in history, “We saw the worst behavior and some of the best behavior which people can do.”

One of the tragedies of 9/11, he said, is that the people in the twin towers were going to work, being as good citizens, putting food on the table, making a better life for their families. That is why he said, “I still can’t understand why someone wants to destroy other people. People of whom they have no knowledge. We are still suffering today. Terrorism goes on. My faith tells me I have to turn the other check when someone does something wrong but I simply can’t do that. When I see the destruction I get angry. I can’t help myself. When I eventually meet my maker we’ll have to figure that out.”

Pastor John Yenchko of the North Shore Community Church had a biblical answer to the senator’s quandary. He said the Bible tells us to turn the other cheek when given an insult. He quoted scripture that says in Romans, that God has given the sword to the state to protect the defenseless. He said, “It never suggests that a nation shouldn’t defend itself from attack.” But he added, the Bible says to pray for those who govern and protect us. He said, “We are grateful to live in this great nation.”

Pastor Yenchko added the thought that “although we have the largest army, we do not use our might to take over other lands.”

Veteran’s Hall of Fame

Senator Marcellino said the NYS Senate has established a Veteran’s Hall of Fame and he recommended First Lieutenant James Byler for the award in the 5th District. Mr. Byler, a former marine, could not make it to the ceremony because he was attending class at NYU. His father Philip Byler accepted the award. (See separate article on page 3.)

Remembering Friends

Attending the 9/11 ceremony were Bill Walsh and Sean and Chris Byrne, brothers of Timothy Byrne who died in the World Trade Center attack. Timothy G. Byrne, 35, of East Norwich was with Sandler O’Neill Partners in the South Tower.

Also attending was Michael Crowley, a friend of the Byrne family and a friend of Thomas A. Mahon, who died in the fall of the Twin Towers.  Thomas A. Mahon, 37, of East Norwich worked at Cantor Fitzgerald in the North Tower.

Mr. Crowley organized a fundraiser for another friend, James Ceglia, when he served for the second time in Iraq. Mike walked to Montauk Point in 2005 in his Mission Montauk Point - Walk for the Ceglias. The walk expressed the message of the financial sacrifices made by the families left behind as their loved ones serve in the military. Mr. Crowley carried with him an American flag signed by members of Cpl. Ceglia’s buddies in the U.S. Army National Guard - Fighting 69th, fighting the War on Terror in Iraq. Mr. Crowley biked to the ceremony with another friend Bernie DelBello of Jack Halyards restaurant.

The senator also offered condolences for the families who have never had the opportunity to bury those who died — to complete the mourning process — since their bodies have never been recovered.

They Are Remembered

Senator Marcellino and Assemblyman Michael Montesano read the list of those remembered on the memorial, including one new one: Lester Vincent Marino. The names on the wall were randomly spaced to allow more names to be added when needed. The names include:

Joshua Todd Aron

Timothy Byrne

Christopher Ciafardini

Peter Victor Genco

Brooke Alexandra Jackman

Joseph A. Kelly

Thomas A. Mahon

Lester Vincent Marino

Edward J. Papa

Bernard E. Patterson

Laurence Polatsch

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

Andrew Steven Zucker

Ceremony Closing

The closing prayer was given by Pastor Raymond Melograne of the North Shore Assembly of God. He gave thanks for the sacrifice of the firemen and policemen and said, “Let their act of service be an inspiration to us.” He asked that God heal the bodies of all the rescuers who worked at the World Trade Center and that God care for their needs.

Pastor Jeffrey Prey of the First Presbyterian Church had given the opening prayer. Pastor Diane Melograne of the North Shore Assembly of God said during the ceremony, “We have painfully learned that our nation is vulnerable.” She remembered the rescuers, the firemen and policemen and private citizens who met the worst of humanity with the best of humanity. At the time, no one knew about the attacks on the American embassies in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

The Atlantic Steamer Fire Department members carried the American flag entering and leaving the ceremony and stood by the memorial wall in remembrance of their comrades who lost their lives in their rescue attempts. Attending the 9/11 memorial ceremony were Atlantic Steamer Fire Company members: 2nd Assistant Chief Tim Barnett, ex-chief Frank Ozol, Ex-chief Richard Niznik, Bob Waller, Frank Maiorana, Sr., Jay Valdez and NYFD representative Joe Siciliano.

They invited everyone to their marine facility for refreshments. In doing so everyone passed by the Atlantic Steamer Memorial Garden with a piece of steel from the World Trade Towers, and a memorial wreath in place.