Port Washington residents gathered at Manorhaven Village Hall to remember the 2,977 people lost on Sept. 11, 2001 with bagpipe hymns, prayers and a rifle salute. Manorhaven mayor Jim Avena and the board of trustees were joined at the ceremony by 11th NY Regiment-USVA, members of the Nassau County Police Department, Port Washington Fire Department and EMTs, Port Washington Police Department, Nassau County Mounties, VFW members and Manorhaven residents in front of the memorial monument created by Kyle DiLeo as part of his Eagle Scout Project.
The monument honors Port resident and Port Authority Police Officer Antonio Jose Rodrigues along with other Port Washington residents killed in the attacks including Bart Joseph Ruggiere, David Scott Agnes, Neil James Cudmore, Keiichiro Takahashi, Dinah Webster, Timothy Colin Kelly and Justin McCarthy and Paul D. Schreiber High School students Martin DeMeo, Olga Kristin Osterholm, John Salerno and Jeffrey LeVeen.
With those lost in mind, the memorial began with an opening bagpipe hymn from Michael Tedeschi followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Port Washington Fire Chief Bryan Vogeley. “Taps” was played on the trumpet by Louis DiLeo and The National Anthem was sung by Sousa Elementary School fourth grader Ella Rowe.
Vogeley led the tree ceremony, explaining that the Port Washington Fire Department was able to obtain five of the Callery pear trees that came from seedlings of the one tree left standing after the attacks on the twin towers.
“One of these trees will be planted next to the firefighter and police memorial at Nassau Knolls cemetery,” said Vogeley. “The other three will be planted at various fire houses and the final tree has been planted at the Manorhaven Village memorial. We felt it would only be fitting to add this tree to the current memorial. In the future a plaque will be placed by the tree so everyone who stops here will know the history of the tree.”
Remarks were given by Assistant Port Washington Police Chief Jeffrey Morris, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Senator Elaine Phillips, County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton and New York State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso. An invocation was given by Sister Kathy Somerville and Sister Gerri O’Neill from Our Lady of Fatima Church and a benediction was given by Rabbi Alysa Mendelson of Port Jewish Center.
“People are still shocked and saddened by the events of 9/11 and so the wounds of 9/11 continue to heal, America will continue to grieve, continue to mourn the loss of innocent life and never forget the terrorist attacks of 9/11,” said Morris. “Let us never forget those who continue to suffer and die due to their illnesses from working on ground zero. God bless them all.”