Sixty-six bell rings rang out Monday morning over Manhasset Valley Park, signifying the 66 individuals who were once part of the community of North Hempstead before their lives were cut short in the 9/11 attacks 22 years ago.
“The ring of the bell feels deep in our heart,” North Hempstead Clerk Ragini Srivastava said.
The memorial service included the presentation of the colors, rifle salute and Playing of Taps by Albertson VFW Post 5253, the poem “When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou read by Nassau County Comptroller Elaine Phillips and wreath presentations by local law enforcement officials.
The National Anthem was performed by the St. Mary’s chamber choir, which also performed “America the Beautiful” during the memorial service.
“Our commemorations is a solemn occasion that calls upon us to remember, to reflect and to honor the memory of those ripped from us on that fateful day,” North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said.
Two moments of silence were held at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m., the times when Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower and when Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower.
DeSena said the ceremony served as a way for everyone to come together as “one town family” to honor the community’s loved ones who died in the attacks.
In the Town of North Hempstead, DeSena said 56 community members were “torn from us” on Sept. 11, 2001, “leaving an unimaginable void that can never be filled.”
An additional eight individuals who grew up in North Hempstead and two Port Washington firefighters who died from 9/11-related illnesses were honored as well.
Each council member read the names of the individuals from their district who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, with DeSena reading for District 3 in Dennis Walsh’s absence.
Robert Troiano read the names of four Westbury residents and five individuals who grew up in the area, Peter Zuckerman read nine names, DeSena read 12 names, Veronica Lurvey read 16 names of residents and two names of District 4 natives, David Adhami read nine names, and Mariann Dalimonte read six names of residents, one individual raised in Port Washington and two Port Washington firefighters.
Even in the darkness of the attacks, DeSena reflected on the light that was shown through the individual acts of heroism, the unity and the support that ensued in the following days.
“Let the memory of Sept. 11 serve as a reminder of our collective strength and determination,” DeSena said.
Twenty-two years after the attacks, DeSena said it is a moment to renew the principles of freedom, tolerance and unity.
Rabbi Anchin Perl of Chabad of Mineola presented a shofar, a hollow ram’s horn, that he said undergoes a transformation when a person blows through it to create a sound.
“It becomes the living embodiment of the heart and the emotions of the human being expressing the divine self,” Perl said.
He said that on that morning, it represented the depths of the souls all lost on Sept. 11, 2011, and the inner desire to see a world of kindness.
Isma Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island, said that Sept. 11 taught everyone so much that day, and every day after, about the community’s resilience, God’s mercy and his blessings.
“There was a lot that was lost that day; however, we emerged together as a nation with strength and dignity,” Chaudhry said.