On Friday, September 9, with Mayor Bloomberg’s terror threat warning from the previous night fresh in everyone’s minds, Community Board 9 held its official decade commemoration of the September, 11 2001 attacks, in Soundview Park.
Community board members, elected officials, community members and first responders spent an hour during the picturesque late-summer day taking turns at the podium set up in the park. They both remembered and reflected on the tragedy that occurred ten years prior and how life has changed since.
“Nine eleven can’t be about one day,” Assemblyman Marcos Crespo said. “It has to be about every day in our lives. It can’t be about the memorial. I couldn’t help but think none of that amounts to the memorials that are in our hearts.”
And in recognition of the first responders from the Fire Department and the Police Department who attended the ceremony in the park, Crespo said, “It’s amazing to think every day could be a 9/11 for them. And they do it to keep us safe. Lord knows it isn’t because of the salary.”
Comptroller John Liu also spoke at the ceremony. He recalled running in a City Council election in Queens on September 11, 2001.
“We didn’t know what to believe, then the reality set in,” he said.
“All of that went out the window, the election didn’t matter. The campaign didn’t matter.”
The most powerful speakers at the event were the first responders themselves.
Christine Mazzola, deputy chief of FDNY EMS Division 2 spoke on behalf of her unit, based on E. 159th Street and Park Avenue.
“September 11 brought tremendous losses to our department,” she said. “But it did not defeat us, and we are stronger than ever before.”
Maribel Guerra, community affairs officer for the 43rd precinct, promised to always uphold her duty to community, as so many first responders did on September 11, 2001.
“We’ll continue to make sure you can walk our streets without fear,” she said.
Community Board 9 does a 9/11 remembrance each year, but chairman Al Heyward said this year’s was different, both because of the tenth anniversary and the prevoius day’s terror warning.
“This was a special one,” Heyward said. “Of course with the heightened security it takes on more meaning.
“And because of the security situation (the first responders) here have better things to do, but this is part of the healing process for them too. I’m glad people came.”
Organizing the event was mainly the responsibility of CB 9 student intern Steven Palmers, a sophomore at CCNY.
“The hardest part was getting the people together,” he said.
“It’s not the only event like this going on, and it’s a very emotional time.”
©2011 Community News Group