The Oyster Bay 9/11 Memorial Garden was almost hidden, by the many people there to attend the ceremony arranged by New York State Senator James Gaughran (D) and former Senator Carl Marcellino (R). It was the first bi-partisan commemoration at the site. It was especially significant since the two had gone head to head in the 2016 and 2018 Senatorial Races and currently have a fine working relationship.
“We are always stronger when we work together,” Marcellino said.
The Atlantic Steamer Fire Co. #1 and Oyster Bay Fire Department Co. #1 staff had contacted Gaughran’s office to see if the annual commemoration of 9/11 would continue with the change of office. The Gaughran staff contacted the Marcellinos. Patricia Marcellino explained they had been given photos of the last event by former staffer Charlotte Longo who with Kathy Wilson, worked on the event over the years. The senator’s wife shared those 2018 photos, the layout for the event and contact information to help in the arrangements.
Gaughran welcomed the visitors and Senator Marcellino added his remarks as the ceremony continued with performances by the Oyster Bay Community Band, under the direction of Stephen Walker, along with several visiting musicians. Their numbers included John Delaney who played “Taps” and Timothy Erbe and Donna Houmann performing “Amazing Grace.”
Girl Scout Troops #122, #204, #211 and Boy Scout Troop #253 laid red roses in front of the memorial as Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D), Senator Michael Montesano (D) and Town Councilwoman Michele Johnson (R) read the names of the fallen.
Johnson added to her list, “And all the others who lost their lives and all those we continue to lose,”,referring to those who are dying as a result of the lethal environment at Ground Zero.
Honored were Joshua Todd Aron, Timothy Byrne, Christopher Ciafardini, Peter Victor Genco, Brooke Alexander Jackman, Joseph A. Kelly, Thomas A. Mahon, Lester Vincent Marino, Edward J. Papa, Bernard E. Patterson, Laurence Polatsch, Bart J. Ruggiere, Jonathan S. Ryan, Francis John Sadocha, John “Pepe” Salerno, Adrienne V. Scibetta, Christopher Paul Slattery, Michael Taddonio, Daniel P. Trant, Frederick Thomas Varacchi, Joshua S. Vitale, Gabriela Silvina Waisman and Andrew Steven Zucker and all those who died on 9/11. (Varacchi was recently added to the memorial, as was intended in its open design. He was president and COO of eSpeed of Cantor Fitzgerald and grew up in Syosset.)
Gaughran commented on the dignity of the Boy Scouts during the ceremony. Andrew and Brendan Murray of Boy Scout Troop 253 held the American and Boy Scout Flags respectively.
Joseph Siciliano, FDNY EMT read “The 343 by Joe Wasserman,” as another firefighter held the FDNY 343 helmet recovered from the site.
As the Oyster Bay Community Band finished playing John Williams’ “Hymn to the Fallen,” the Oyster Bay LIRR train came into the nearby station.
Gaughran commented, “It is a sign… So many commuters came in by train and never came back, that day. So, we remember them all.”
Among those gathered were members of the Locust Valley American Legion Post 962, including Centre Island Mayor Lawrence Schmidlapp; Oyster Bay American Legion post 4, Commander Reggie Butt, Jr.; members of AMVETS North Shore Veterans Memorial Post 21 (newly formed). The legionnaires and AMVETS led those assembled in the “Pledge of Alliegiance.”
Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino added, “Thank you to all the emergency responders who protect us.” Town Councilman Lou Imbrotto agreed, “Honor those who protect us every day.”
The Rev. Jeffrey Prey gave the closing prayer, saying, “Everything in the world that is good is done in hope.”
A reception followed at the Atlantic Steamer Fire Marine Rescue Facility, where a girder from the Twin Towers is set in their garden area.