Jacobi Medical Center Remembers 9-11 Victims

Blanche Comras Rifkin, pictured on the left, and Ruth Burko place white roses over a monument listing the names of more than 150 Bronxites who perished on 9/11. Photo by Victor Chu

The 9/11 memorial garden for Bronx victims of the World Trade Center tragedy was abuzz with activity as mourners came to pay tribute to their fallen brethren.

On Friday, September 11, the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the memorial next to building #2 of Jacobi Hospital was the site of a morning service that included wreath and flower-laying at a monument to the borough’s victims.

The joint community advisory boards of Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital sponsored the program, which included the reading of poems and inspirational messages, the singing of the national anthem by the Jacobi Choir, and remarks from elected officials and community leaders.

“I think each person remembers their friends and loved ones in their own way,” said Emily Sanchez, an attendee who read a message entitled An Ode to America. “We have moments of silence and public remembrances all over the city. 9/11 is just something no one can forget.”

Some spoke about the strange mixture of emotions that many feel surrounding the remembrance of a great national tragedy.

“This is a day when a strange mixture of emotions overcome us,” Assemblyman Benedetto said. “There is a profound sadness when we think of the people we have lost. At the same time, we have pride in the firefighters and police who went into the buildings to save others. We also experience the emotion of hatred to those who did this dastardly deed [and] love for the people we have lost and for our freedoms as Americans.”

Assemblywoman Rivera spoke of 9/11 as being unconscionable and difficult to explain to her child.

“I have to try to rationalize to my nine-year-old something that is completely irrational – the lives that were lost and what today means,” Rivera said. “Today is a day to remember that we are vulnerable […] but this is also a day to be proud to be Americans because we are not going down without a fight and are truly a community that is willing to lend a helping hand. That was proven on 9/11.”

Community Board 11 member Joe McManus remembered he worked as a steamfitter in the World Trade Center project. He also recalled as he was working to building the towers, from the basement to the 108th floor, he had a friend who went to work in the FDNY, and was one of the first on the scene during the attack on the World Trade Center.

“It was tough because I knew [the firefighter] Tom Kelly personally and I was on that job and I saw the work that went into it,” McManus said. “ But like everything else, time does heal wounds.”

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