Williston Park officials, residents, community leaders and, for the first time, two U.S. Marines will gather at Kelleher Field on Sunday to remember the eight Williston Park and East Williston residents, along with nearly 3,000 other people, who were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Though 15 years have passed since that day, it is no less significant now than then, Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar said.
“Whether it’s the first, 15th or the 30th, to me it has all the same importance,” he said. “It’s a day we should never forget.”
The village has held its annual remembrance at the Little League baseball field since 2008, said Bill Darmstadt, a former village trustee who organizes the event.
As in years past, the observance will feature color guards from the Williston Park Fire Department and American Legion Post 144. The names of the eight residents killed in the attacks will be read and honored with the song “Taps.”
Little League baseball players and Boy Scouts also participate in the ceremony. It helps teach them and other children who attend about the importance of the tragedy that happened before they were born but affected many in their community, Darmstadt said.
“It means so much to remember our neighbors,” he said. “I didn’t know anyone personally, but through this ceremony I’ve met survivors of the attack, which is really emotional because they can’t even tell you what happened without breaking down.”
As the years pass, Williston Park and other communities must work to make sure their events remain respectful memorials, not “another Veterans Day sale,” Ehrbar said.
“We have to constantly avoid that and remember it for the tragedy it was,” he said.
The observance will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday at Kelleher Field, located near the intersection of Yale and Broad streets in Williston Park.
The Village of East Williston will hold its annual candlelight vigil remembering the attacks at 7:30 p.m. Sunday on the Village Green, located next to Village Hall at 2 Prospect St. in East Williston.
The Village of Mineola’s annual 9/11 observance will begin at 7 p.m. at the village’s Memorial Park, located at 195 Marcellus Road.
The Town of North Hempstead will hold its annual 9/11 memorial service, honoring the 56 town residents who died in the attacks, at 8 a.m. Sunday at Mary Jane Daives Green, located across from Town Hall on Plandome Road in Manhasset.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano will host a sunset memorial service at the county’s 9/11 Memorial in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8. The names of county residents who died in the attacks will be read by family members.