Elected officials gathered for Manorhaven’s 9/11 memorial service at Village Hall Sunday to remember the nine Port Washington residents who died in the attack on the World Trade Center.
The event coincided with several Sept. 11 services across North Hempstead. Earlier that morning, the Town hosted its service at Manhasset Valley Park.
“As we think back on this traumatic event, please make it a point to remember the importance of our American heritage, the need for patriotism and respect for the country we call home,” said Mayor John Popeleski. “Thank you to the heroes who have sacrificed throughout history and to those who continue to protect this great country.”
Those who died in Port Washington included David Scott Agnes, 46; Antonio Jose Carrusca Rodrigues, 35; Neil James Cudmore, 38; Timothy Kelly, 37; Frederic Kuo, 53; Justin McCarthy, 30; Bart Joseph Ruggieri, 32; Keiichiro Takahashi, 53; and Dinah Webster, 50.
Several other officials joined the Manorhaven mayor. County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills) and state Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti (D-Manorhaven) all spoke about remembering those who died.
Ryder shared his experiences on Sept. 11. He said that when the need for their help arose, many immediately answered the call of duty.
“That’s what heroes do,” he said. “Heroes put other people in front of them. They do what is right. They’re always stepping above and beyond to protect and serve.”
He said that nobody was judged that day based on their race, gender or any other criteria.
Kaplan stressed the value of never forgetting the deceased. She said that both for America and its people, everything changed.
“We come together today in their honor because we all vowed that we would never forget,” she said. “We vowed to always keep them in our hearts and in our prayers. And today, as we do every day, we remember them.”
Sillitti said 9/11 will always mean something different for New Yorkers. She said that even now, many are still dealing with the consequences of the assaults on the Twin Towers in Lower Manhattan.
“It’s different for us,” said Sillitti. “We see the sideline a little bit differently, we still mourn the loss of our friends and our family and neighbors. We obviously all know someone who spent time on the pile, weeks and months that followed. Those that are living with cancer, that have died of cancer, someone who just had that lingering cough or something in between.”
About 410,000 to 525,000 people were exposed to toxins from 400 tons of pulverized concrete, glass and asbestos at ground zero. According to the World Trade Center Health Program, while 2,974 individuals died on Sept. 11, 4,343 survivors and first responders have died in the years since.
“That’s why we have these events — large and small,” said Sillitti. “It’s happening all across New York. And again, those words that we mentioned before have a different meaning for us because we will never forget — because we can’t.”