Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Friday, 18 September 2009 00:00Doubleday Babcock Senior Center held a remembrance of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers, to honor all those who perished at the hands of the terrorists. It was also to praise the heroic men and women who died trying to help others, in the crash of the buildings; as well as to honor the volunteers who risked their health in the search and rescue and clean up operations on the site.
David McLaughlin, board member of the WaterFront Center, helped in the arrangements and said the memorial garden is re-planted for the fall season. He was at the new WaterFront Center building setting up the chairs and the flowers around the dais for the event.
He pointed to the center windows of the building, saying that the flag on the yardarm over the 9/11 Memorial was visible through the windows. Bay Constable Phil Rhoads pointed to it too.
As the memorial began, New York State Senator Carl Marcellino thanked members of the Atlantic Steamer and Oyster Bay Fire Companies who were there to assist in the ceremony. Several of those attending were involved in the September 11 events.
The senator announced Barbara Kimball who led the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance; and Joan Petrella who sang The Star Spangled Banner. It was probably the first time the walls of the building reverberated with the lovely sounds of our national anthem, performed beautifully by Ms. Petrella. The Reverend Peter Casparian of Christ Church gave the opening blessing. He quoted Bishop Frank Griswold, who eight years ago called on “God the Compassionate” asking him to console those who grieve and give them hope for the future; and asked for the country to have the grace to examine our relationship with those who see us as the enemy; and to help heal the nation.
Joan Petrella led the group consisting of members and staff of the Doubleday Babcock Senior Center and children from the Oyster Bay Cooperative Pre-School in singing God Bless America.
Senator Marcellino said, “I remember where I was on 9/11. I was in my office in Oyster Bay having a cup of coffee when someone called and said ‘put the television on right away. A plane seems to have crashed into the World Trade Center.’ I put the TV on and saw the building and the smoke and as I was watching, I remember seeing a plane coming in, and at first I thought it was a video replay, then it hit the second tower and I knew it wasn’t on tape. We were watching it as it happened. I was sickened in my stomach. I’m sure you, with relatives who were in the towers understand. It was a deliberate attack. He turned right into the building and you knew it was deliberate.
“Then there was the footage of President George Bush, newly elected, and speaking to school children down South. He was told of the attack by an aide who said, ‘Mr. President, we are under attack.’ I could see his face blanch. It was something he didn’t ever expect to hear. At the same time the Pentagon was attacked, and then over Pennsylvania, a plane was forced down when the people fought the terrorists; took over the plane; forced the plan down and everyone died. We still don’t know if they were going to the Pentagon or the Capital.
“As I watched the towers collapse – yes, we were all glued to the television, and filled with emotions - we wondered how many people would be lost. There was a cloud of debris in the air as people ran away from the site, and as police and firefighters ran back into the building to do what they do best – protect our lives and our property.
“Many died there. Many today who worked at the site are suffering because of breathing in that air. I went down with Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudy Guliani. We met at the Intrepid pier and were taken down to the site under escort with men holding .50-caliber machine guns. There was a military detachment with guns at the ready, fully loaded and they were protecting the pier. I almost broke down to see armed troops in my city, ready to do battle.
“The terrorists hurt us and harmed us for no other reason than we stand for freedom and are an open society. The people who died were non-combatants. They were people who went to work: for their families, to keep their households well. They lost their lives that day doing something for their families and friends. They were firefighters, construction workers, and office workers.
“Ten days after, I was there to see the remains. I can’t forget the smell or feeling of the site. I started to cough and it lasted a week: I remember my throat was sore for a week afterward. Others there to help in the rescue and to find the remains were volunteers – all – not paid.. and they spent days doing it for love, respect and as public service. Many have died since then for their afflictions. They should be honored too,” said the senator.
Mr. Marcellino said, “This Oyster Bay memorial was the idea of the relatives of local people whose loved ones lost their lives in the attack. Kathy Wilson, from my office, worked with the members of the families and the consultants who were working on the Western Waterfront project to create the memorial. Supervisor John Venditto allowed us to use town land for the memorial. They said it was a good idea – and we can do that.
“We put the names on the memorial, not in alphabetical order, lest we miss one. And in fact we missed two and could get them plaques and put them in – and not have them out of order: Francis John Sadocha and Andrew Steven Zucker.
“The site is lovely.
“Subsequently, the Doubleday Babcock Senior Center wanted to add to the memorial and put in flower pots and planting beds and now people come here regularly and put fresh flowers, and photographs at the memorial. They have always placed things there in memory of their loved ones. The Town of Oyster Bay weeds the site and keeps it maintained. It is a labor of love and they cooperate wonderfully with us.”
Senator Marcellino said in New York City, every year, they read the names of the people who died that day. He and DBSC staff member Barbara Schmidt read off the names on the memorial:
Joshua Todd Aron
Peter Victor Genco
Brooke Alexandra Jackman
Joseph A. Kelly
Thomas A. Mahon
Edward J. Papa
Bernard E. Patterson
Bart J. Ruggiere
Jonathan S. Ryan
Francis John Sadocha
Adriane V. Scibetta
Christopher Paul Slattery
Daniel P. Trant
Joshua S. Vitale
Andrew Steven Zucker
Mr. Marcellino added, “And in honor of all the innocents lost on September 11, 2001.”
Elaine Sarin of DBSC placed flowers on the altar, and lighted a candle for the victims. Three children from the Oyster Bay Co-Operative Pre-School placed flowers on the altar: Aaron Kleinman, Leah Swidzinski and Samuel Monavani.
Senator Marcellino said the memorial and the annual ceremony were a symbol of what a unique town is Oyster Bay. It is what makes it famous, he said. The Rev. Peter Casparian gave the closing blessing. Joan Petrella sang Amazing Grace.
The senator thanked Dodds & Eder for supplying the display of mums. “They came to the rescue as we moved the ceremony inside. He indicated the firefighters standing behind him on the dais saying, “Many of them went down to the Trade Center and volunteered to help in the cleanup.”
Oyster Bay firefighters Charlie Bradley and Michael Scheck were there. Mr. Scheck said he and other Oyster Bay firefighters went to St. Vincent Hospital on 9/11, where they expected to help. “There were no casualties. We were given the title Triage Team #13, we didn’t like the number,” he said.
As the towers were coming down, doctors at St. Vincent Hospital were readying to help victims hurt in the collapse, but the way the towers went down – suddenly accordianing down onto itself in a heap amidst billowing clouds of debris, took away the option of many people surviving with injuries. Over 3,000 people went down with the buildings.
Firefighter Bradley said at first they were sent to Belmont Park for staging. “It was like a movie with everyone driving in every which direction. Everyone had a stoned look. We were assigned to Bayside on standby. Then we were sent to the Glen Oaks firehouse.
“It was just amazing. On the evening of 9/11 people gathered outside the firehouse in Bayside. It was as if they felt they had to be there.
“The next morning, in Glen Oaks, a mother and daughter showed up with bagels and flowers for the firemen. It was astonishing. People had to talk and get their feelings out and for that they went to the firefighters.
“Everyone said, ‘My God, what’s next?’ That was my two days working as a FDNY,” Mr. Bradley concluded.
Bev Zembko of the Oyster Bay Co-Operative Pre-School, that has intergenerational programs with the senior center, said, at first looking at the weather they considered if they would attend. She said her staff said to her, “For what those people suffered it is a small thing for us to do, and we can do it.” She said, they were ready and willing to stand in the rain.
Ms. Wilson said she had three tents available to set up in case of wet weather, but when she saw the rain and the wind, she realized they needed to be indoors.
NYS Senator Carl Marcellino agreed the ceremony was initially to have been held outside, but Mother Nature intervened and they were able to use the newest building which is part of the WaterFront project. “It will be for marine education; boat re-construction; and boat building. It will be the site for the Ida May re-construction/restoration,” and he added, “the two boats will be used to give tours of Oyster Bay Harbor.” He said the bathrooms in the smaller building to the east will open shortly, in time for the Oyster Festival.
Mr. Marcellino said, “This is a public site, for everyone to come and look, enjoy, and meditate here at the harbor.”
Among the names was that of Oyster Bay High School graduate, Wade Brian Green of Muttontown, whose parents are retired schoolteachers.
Retired Oyster Bay teacher Rosemary Colvin remembered Wade very well. She said, “Wade was very active at OBHS. He was on the student council, played football and was in chorus. He died in the September 11 attack. He worked for a computer company and was attending a conference at the World Trade Towers. He was in the Windows on the World restaurant during a coffee break when the towers fell. At the time, his daughter was 4 years old and in St. Paul’s Nursery School.
“Jacki Trezza noticed that his name was not on the school memorial in the front lawn, and had it added to the list. I called the town to be sure it was on that memorial.
“He was very active and participatory in the school. He was in my house many times, after football practice. I would pick up my son Michael and Wade and he would stay here until his parents came home from work in the city,” she said.
Not all the names of those lost are listed on memorials. Some families have not had their loved ones included, although with the 9/11 memorial at the Western Waterfront accommodations have been made to include names not currently listed, but tied to the hamlet. Call NYS Senator Carl Marcellino’s office at 922-1811 to be included in that memorial.
Former Oyster Bay-East Norwich School district retired teacher Richard Siegelman had three students who died in the World Trade Center attack. The families of Brooke Jackman and Christopher Slattery were interested in having their children remembered publicly. Mr. Siegelman said, “Mrs. Slattery wrote to me that, ‘We want people to remember Chris always.”
Mr. Siegelman remembered Chris as a happy young man with a good sense of humor that he retained as an adult. His memories of Brooke are long, since she was a student of his for three terms. They shared a love of books. That is something that has enriched many people with the many literacy projects the Jackman family have promoted through the Brooke Jackman Foundation.
Each story deserves to be told.