Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park is home to a new monument honoring the first responders who have died from illnesses since rushing to the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Officials unveiled the memorial at County Executive Laura Curran’s 9/11 remembrance ceremony on Thursday, two days before the 20th anniversary of the attacks on Lower Manhattan’s World Trade Center.
The 6,500-pound red granite monument sits next to Eisenhower Park’s existing Sept. 11 memorial, which features salvaged steel beams from the former World Trade Center, one of the largest in the nation. Inscribed on the new memorial is a dedication to the “responders who lost their lives to illness years after joining the rescue and recovery operation at ground zero in the wake of the attack.”
“The word that comes to mind is selflessness, the selflessness of our first-responders,” Curran, a Democrat, said at Thursday’s ceremony, which was attended by first responders, town, county and state officials along with loved ones of 9/11 victims. “That muscle memory, that sense of mission, of service of others above self.”
Also at the ceremony, 12 family members of people who died in the attacks read a selection of names from the list of 348 Nassau County residents who were killed that day.
At the end of their reading, each speaker said the name of those they knew and say a few words about them.
Before Curran unveiled the monument alongside Nassau County police and fire officials, the Nassau County Police Color Guard performed a presentation of colors and Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss — who was a detective with the Emergency Service Unit of the NYPD in 2001 — led the pledge of allegiance.
Also joining the procedures was the Nassau County Police Department Pipes and Drums, the nation’s first volunteer firefighter pipe band. They played renditions of “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America” while a Nassau County Police Department helicopter conducted a flyover.
Curran finished the evening’s events with a reminder of those on Staten Island that spent days after the attacks still searching for victims.
“We can’t forget those who were in Staten Island on the landfill meticulously going through rubble for the remains of loved ones of other people,” she said.